Talcott Parsons: An Intellectual Biography

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Cambridge University Press, 10 .. 2002 - 311 ˹
The American sociologist Talcott Parsons was often accused of being an overly abstract, even apolitical thinker, remote in Harvard's ivory tower. The controversial Parsons, in fact, emulated his mentor, the venerable Max Weber, in at least two respects: as a scholar he practised Wertfreiheit (scientific professionalism) and as a political activist he worked for the preservation and expansion of democracy. In this text, Uta Gerhardt traces this double commitment and links Parsons's scholarship to his politics. Utilizing rich archival material, she examines four periods in Parsons's intellectual life in the context of American history and society. From the New Deal and the rise of German fascism to the Second World War, through the McCarthy era and the Civil Rights movement, Parsons's overriding agenda was to develop both a sociological understanding and a defense of the development of modern democracy.
 

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Understanding The Structure of Social Action
1
The Long Shadow of Darwinism
12
The Matter of Facts
32
Summary
51
What about Cultural Pessimism?
53
Parsonss Sociology of National Socialism 19381945
58
The PreWar Period
61
Before Pearl Harbor
72
The Second Memorandum an Unpublished Book
160
The Third Attempt
167
Summary
177
Becoming Politically Embattled Personally
178
A New Agenda for Citizenship Parsonss Theory and American Society in the 1960s
184
The New Perspective on Power and the Polity
188
Understanding ValueCommitments
210
The Generalized Symbolic Media and the Theory of Society
215

The Year 1942
89
Toward VEDay
105
Beyond Victory
120
Summary
126
The Harvard SocialScience War Effort and The Social System
129
Some Scenarios in the War Effort of the Social Sciences at Harvard
130
Parsonss Themes Connected with Harvards War Effort
137
The War Effort Realized by Three of Parsonss Harvard Colleagues
144
Parsonss Reaction to the Deployment of the Atom Bomb
149
The Fate of Parsonss Memorandum Analyzing the War Effort of the Social Sciences
153
The New Perspective on Integration and Democracy
225
Introducing Societal Community
231
Theory of Integration
245
Summary
260
The Three Arenas for Change and Crisis
261
A Life of Scholarship for Democracy
276
Bibliography
281
Name Index
289
Subject Index
299
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