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Parsons 1954 essays in sociological theory


parsons 1954 essays in sociological theory

But so long as the scientist is able to maintain a "respectable" standard of living, entertain his friends well, dress his family adequately, and educate his children well, the fact that he cannot afford the luxuries of a hundred-thousand-dollar. It "responds to be sure, to the environmental stimuli, but is not completely assimilated to its environment, maintaining rather an element of distinctiveness in the face of variations in environ- mental conditions. The adult roles of both sexes involve important elements of strain which are both in certain dynamic relationships, especially to the youth culture. From this point of view at least one critically important aspect of the National Socialist movement lies in the fact that it constitutes a mobilization of the extremely deep-seated romantic tendencies of German society in the service of a violently aggressive political movement. From one point of view the emergence of occupational status into this primary position can be regarded as the principal source of strain in the sex role structure of our society since it deprives the wife. The conflict is not generally a simple one between the actor's self-interest and his altruistic regard for others or for ideals, but between different components of the normally unified goal of "success" each of which contains both interested and disinterested motivation elements. In its non-deliberate functional significance the institution of medical practice is an inte- 174 essays IN sociological theory gral part of a far more generalized institutional structure and sys- tem of social control. Precisely, however, where the competitive aspect of dating is most prominent the glamor pattern seems heavily to pre- dominate, as does, on the masculine side, a somewhat comparable glamorous type. Bales and Edward. It is at the point of emergence into adolescence that there first begins to develop a set of patterns and behavior phenomena which involve a highly complex combination of age grading and sex role elements. In the first place, all Western societies have been subjected in their recent history to the disorganizing effects of many kinds of rapid social change. The latter may, in one aspect, be considered as mechanisms of orientation of the actor to his situ- ation.

Talcott Parsons Essays In Sociological Theory - Literature

In the case of the English language two precautions in particular, over and above those commonly observed, need to be explicitly mentioned. The findings of sociology and anthropology with respect to the importance of cultural relativit are such that any proposition with respect to the more universal significance of the institutionalized patterns of any particular social system should be put forward with great caution. In the first place, in the classic type of "contractual rela- tionship rights parsons 1954 essays in sociological theory and obligations are specifically limited to what are implicitly or explicitly the "terms of the contract." The burden of proof that it is really. Attention may first be called to the fact that control functions may reasonably be attributed to the most ordinary patterns of interaction between persons. That is, though sons of civil servants, professional men, even on occasion bankers or industrialists, they tended to take on the style of Iffe of the Junker group rather than vice versa, and to be acceptable in proportion as they did. Doctors are not altruists, and the famous "acquisitive- ness" of a business economy is not the product of "enlightened self-interest." The opinion may be hazarded that one of the prin- cipal reasons why economic thought has failed to see. This common pattern is applied on the judg- ments of higher and lower as applied to individuals which thus form a convenient point of reference for systematizing the norma- tive pattern itself. The honorific title of Rat is differentiated into an indefinite number of subclasses according to the particular occupation of the incumbent Kommerzienrat, Justizrat, Sanitaestsrat, Rechnungsrat, etc.


This 1 That is provided there are not "watertight" technical criteria by which to keep "behefs" in Hne. Con- tractualism overlaps widely with the use of money and the wide extension of market relationships. Whatever there may be of any more generalized significance in the institutionalization of these patterns, there can be no doubt that reinforcement of them is fundamental to the cultivation of matur- ity in our society psychotherapy which consisted in "conversion". The justification lies in the fact that they need to be brought to mind because of their bearing on what is doubtless still to many a very puzzling problem. In each im- mediate instance in one sense the doctor could, if he did these things according to the business pattern, gain financial advantages which conformity with his own professional pattern denies him. These two conjugal families may conveniently be treated as con- stituting the 'inner circle" of the kinship structure. The other principal direction of emancipation from domesticity seems to lie in emphasis on what has been called the common humanistic element. Parsons completed his undergraduate studies in biology. The ostensible character of medical practice, its manifest func- tion, is as that of a machinery for harnessing deliberate rational action, through the knowledge and skill of highly trained experts, to the practical problem of cure, or sometimes prevention, of "disease". Motivation OF economic actiyities 55 Again it is necessary that there should be a difiFerentiation between those modes of influence which are held permissible or desirable, and those which should be discouraged or even forbidden. The Structure of Social Action in 1937.


In ordinary social relations it can be said that there is a mutual obligation to take the parsons 1954 essays in sociological theory other party at his face value, to "take him seriously" as it were. It is undoubtedly sig- nificant that the "classical economics" never took real root in the German universities; for since it was never only a technical dis- cipline but was also an ideology, it expressed an ideal of inde- pendence of 'l)usiness". This famous German civil service has constituted a highly pro- fessionalized group, with a very high degree of formalization of status and of the operation of the organization. On the other hand, for the same reasons it provides the most important single strategic vantage point for implementing any deliberate policy of control. Seen in this context the professions appear not only as empirically somewhat different from business, but the two fields would seem to exemplify the most radical cleavage conceiv- able in the field of human behavior. In the state itself, however, the primary mode of participation of this class has not been in the civil administration but in the armed forces.


What is Quantitative and Qualitative Monetary Easing (QQE

Thomas, be said to be to "define the situation." The significance of a situation is never simply given in parsons 1954 essays in sociological theory its intrinsic "nature rather a selection is made of those aspects which are func- tionally related to the particular orientations, values. Furthermore, this field provides a particular- ly striking illustration of the working of automatic control mechan- isms which are built into the institutional structure. In such terms it is obvious tliat one does not call on the services of an engineer to deal with persistent epigastric pain, nor on a professor of Semitic languages to clarify a question about the kinship system of a tribe of Aus- tralian natives. Finally, German titles are far more highly differentiated, both with respect to rank and to field of competence, than are ours. They are normative patterns which define what are felt to be, in the given society, proper, legitimate, or expected modes of action or of social relationship. But in such a complex system as our own its adequacy is much more dubious. Whose son, husband, friend he is, is in this context irrelevant. Nonlogical action is precisely action insofar as it cannot be understood in terms of this standard of rationality. The prominence of the pattern of romantic love, again however unrealistic it is, seems to indicate a particularly strong emphasis on the fusion of the sex relationship with the strongest bonds of personal intimacy and loyalty. In not a single case are they products of what, by current standards, would be called refined research technique; in this sense they can hardly claim to be "operational." They are, however, called essays in the "application". Par- ticularly conspicuous in this respect is what to Anglo-Saxons appears to be a peculiar tendency towards the formalization of status in Germany, both in the economy and in other aspects of the society. Kinship afRhation is thus always a basic aspect of the class status of an individual.


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In addition to, but including, ath- letic prowess the typical pattern of the male youth culture seems to lay emphasis on the value of certain qualities of attractiveness, espe- cially in relation to the opposite sex. This, however, is not the case. It is, for instance, difficult to suppose that the institu- tional regulation of marked relations connected with the "one-price system" and the control of tendencies to force and fraud are very directly related to the "psychological" level which. Insti- tutionally established behavior and reaction patterns undoubtedly In a very large proportion of cases these reactions result in significant part from the operation of the mechanisms of "projection" or "displacement" so tliat the affect is not really "appropriate" to the manifest object or situation. For the most part we have had to rest content with empirical statements which, as in the case for example of the net reproduc- tion rate or the correlation between religious affiliation and voting behavior, might be extremely precise.


This necessity of evaluation implies in turn the necessity of ranking, in the first place, qualities and achievements which are directly comparable; thus, if physical strength is valued, persons will in so far be ranked in order of their physical strength. The key individual in the system, the busi- ness man, was placed in a position where money calculations of profit and loss necessarily played a dominant part in the processes of adjustment, when they were analyzed from. There is a very complex system of mutual symbolic references by virtue of which primary criteria of status are reinforced by secondary criteria and symbols in various ways.* For the primary criteria one must look to the general. In the Anglo-Saxon world it is probably true that there is on the whole a smaller predisposition to romanticism than in Germany because patterns which, in important respects, go back to Puritan- ism, canalize the orientation of action more. He feels urged to pursue his self-interest in ways which are incompatible with tlie standards of behavior in which he himself was brought up and which have been too deeply inculcated for him ever to throw ofiF completely. In medicine it will similarly involve size and character of practice, income, hospital and possibly medical school appointments, honors, parsons 1954 essays in sociological theory and again reputation. Solid, conservative domes- ticity is very much a live ideal in the United States, but relatively less prominent. 92 essays IN sociological theory Perhaps the best single point of reference for characterizing the youth culture lies in its contrast with the dominant pattern of the adult male role.


Indian, American Indian, and Native Americans: Counterfeit

This type is connected with a strong tendency to instability of marriage and a "mother-centered" type of family structure found both in Negro and white population elements. Though this is tiue generally, it has a particularly important application to statuses involving prestige and authority in the social system. This complex of mechanisms may in broad terms be said to operate successfully short of two main types of limits. An element of at least latent antagonism between relatively eman- cipated and relatively traditionalized elements of the society would exist even if all its members were perfectly integrated with institu- tional patterns, if there were no anomie. The problem of keeping down the murder rate does not involve in any serious way a conflict of values in which one group stands out for the right to murder. The importance of youth patterns in contemporary American culture throws into particularly strong relief the status in our social structure of the most advanced parsons 1954 essays in sociological theory age groups. Aggression has turned toward symbols of the rationalizing and emancipated areas which are felt to be "subversive" of the values.


400 good and interesting argumentative essay topics for

The analytical scheme in which the role of valid empirical knowl- edge in this sense has been most highly elaborated and conceptu- ally refined is economic theory. In relation to government this means above all that it should avoid involvement in any of the internal struggles for power of partisan groups; both in its constitution and publicly conspicuous personnel it should be as close. 114 essays IN sociological theory The diflFerence is, of course, relative. In the first place it is a particularly striking case of the existence of relatively unconscious automatic control mechanisms in society which tend to counteract the vicious-circle mechanisms of at least one broad class of deviant tendencies on the behavioral level. 2 This residual category is formulated for the immediate purposes in hand and its use is not to be held to imply that no distinctions between subclasses of nonempirical ideas are important for any other purposes.


One of the commonest sources of fallacious con- clusions lies in the tendency to treat certain aspects of a social structure without taking account of their interdependence. But the potentialities of abuse are so great that the existence of a ramified system of infor- mal control of the practitioner himself as well as the patient is strongly indicated. Even though originally established by partisan administrations, they have for all practical purposes come to be accepted by the public as a whole. The reader may quite reasonably ask what is gained by dwell- ing at such length on all these features of pre-Nazi German social structure, all of which are very well known, and a good many of which. Philosophy and theology have tended to be the places in which the more abstract and generalized formulations of basic orientations have taken place, including both intellectual ideas as to "man's place in the universe" and the fundamental ethical ideas. Hence, within the broad framework of the direct differential valuation of occupations and achievements as managerial, professional, skilled, unskilled, etc., there is an income hierarchy which, on the whole, corresponds to that of direct valuation. That is, in every known society membership in a solidary kinship unit is one fundamental element of the place of an individual in a system of stratification. The obverse of what seems to many Anglo-Saxons the petty proliferation of minor regulations, the ubiquitous notice that such and such is Verboten, was the meticu- lous incorruptibility of the administration.


As in the case of ascribed status the role of money parsons 1954 essays in sociological theory as a criterion of status is here strongly reinforced by the fact that its expenditure is largely for other symbols of status in turn. Hence the distinction cuts across the one we have been discussing. An idea is normative insofar as the main- tenance or attainment of the state of affairs it describes may be regarded as an end of the actor. There are many areas and elements of uncertainty in practically all fields. A second element of the situation is also common to all Western countries, but also perhaps somewhat more intense in Germany than elsewhere. Self-interest and moral sentiments are not necessarily antithetical, but may, and often do, motivate con- duct in the same direction.


Underlying tliis whole problem is the very fundmanetal one of parsons 1954 essays in sociological theory the modes and mechanisms of the "introjection" of institutional patterns, both norms and definitions of the situation, and their relation to the problems of integration both of personality and of social systems. There is a further respect in which wealth has a peculiar signifi- cance in an "individualistic" society. If anything, this factor has been more prominent in Germany than elsewhere in that the processes of industrialization and urbaniza- tion were particularly rapid there. It has had a highly developed money economy. Codification and systematization of personal rights and individual liberties is another essential aspect as is the clear development of the modem institution of ownership in the sphere of property. One may, then, perhaps say that the whole occupational sphere is dominated by a single fundamental goal, that of "success." The content of this common goal will, of course, vary with the specific character of the functional role. The availability of ready-made caricatured defini- tions of the situation and extreme symbols has of course greatly facilitated this structuring.



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