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Talcott Parsons

Talcott ParsonsBorn: 13-Dec-1902
Birthplace: Colorado Springs, CO
Died: 8-May-1979
Location of death: Munich, Germany
Cause of death: Stroke
Remains: Buried, Old Burying Ground, Jaffrey Center, NH

Gender: Male
Religion: Protestant
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Sociologist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The Structure of Social Action

Probably the most influential sociologist during much of the 20th century, American sociologist Talcott Parsons brought together the theories of French sociologist Émile Durkheim and economists Alfred Marshall and Max Weber, among others. His work sought to construct a single overarching structural-functional theory to explain and classify both general and specific characteristics of human societies, and brought elements of clinical psychology and social anthropology into the study of sociology. His landmark book The Structure of Social Action was influential through the 1970s, and Parsons also introduced Weber's work to American audiences, translating Weber's The Theory of Social and Economic Organization into English.

Father: Edward Smith Parsons (Congregationalist minister, b. 1863, d. 1943)
Mother: Mary Augusta Ingersoll (b. 1863, d. 1949)
Brother: Charles Edward Parsons (physician)
Wife: Helen Bancroft Walker (m. 30-Apr-1927)
Daughter: Anne Parsons (anthropologist, b. 1930, d. 1964 suicide)
Son: Charles Dacre Parsons (philosophy professor, b. 1933)
Daughter: Susan Parsons Cramer (b. circa 1936)

    University: BA Biology, Amherst College (1924)
    University: London School of Economics (attended, 1924-25)
    University: PhD Economics & Sociology, University of Heidelberg (1927)
    Lecturer: Economics, Harvard University (1927-31)
    Teacher: Sociology, Harvard University (1931-44)
    Professor: Sociology, Harvard University (1944-73)

    American Sociological Association President (1949)
    Stroke 8-May-1979 (fatal)
    English Ancestry (maternal & paternal)

Author of books:
The Structure of Social Action (1937)
Essays in Sociological Theory (1949)
The Social System (1951)
Economy and Society (1956, with Neil J. Smelser)
Structure and Process in Modern Societies (1960)
Theories of Society: Foundations of Modern Sociological Theory (1965)
Family, Socialization and Interaction Process (1966, with Robert Freed Bales)
The Negro American (1966, with Kenneth B. Clark)
American Sociology\; Perspectives, Problems, Methods (1968)
Sociological Theory and Modern Society (1968)
Politics and Social Structure (1969)
Toward A General Theory of Action (1971)
Readings on Pre-Modern Societies (1972, with Victor M. Lidz)
The American University (1973, with Gerald M. Platt and Neil J. Smelser)
The Evolution of Societies (1977)
Social Systems and the Evolution of Action Theory (1977)
Action Theory and the Human Condition (1978)


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