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date: 22 February 2020

Parsons, Talcott (1902–79) 

A Dictionary of Sociology

John Scott

For some twenty to thirty years after the Second World War, Talcott Parsons was the major theoretical figure in English-speaking sociology, if not in world sociology. An American who worked all his life in the United States, apart from a brief period of postgraduate study in Europe, his sociological theory (most often labelled structural-functionalism or normative functionalism) was commonly seen as a product of modern, affluent American society, where structural social conflicts had been largely eliminated or were of a transient nature, and where there appeared to be a general social cohesion and shared adherence to democratic values. Parsonian theory came under increasing criticism as the post-war consensus itself showed signs of dissolving, particularly under the impact of the Vietnam War.... ...

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