martes, 22 de enero de 2013
Sociology of Talcott Parsons
Talcott Parsons was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S., in 1902. He came from a religious and intellectual family, his father was minister clergyman, professor and later president of a small college. He studied at Amherst College, where he graduated in 1924 and completed his doctoral studies at the London School of Economics. He moved to Heidelberg, Germany, where Weber made much of his academic career at Heidelberg still felt the influence of Weber even five years after his death, when it came Parsons, his widow continued convening meetings at home, to he attended Parsons, who was greatly influenced by the work of the German sociologist, in fact, much of the doctoral thesis of Parsons was devoted to analyzing the ideas of Weber.
Parsons was appointed tutor at Harvard in 1927 and remained at the university until his death in 1979, although the department changed several times, took twelve years to get permanent status in this university professor, was in 1939, in 1937 had published his Structure Social Action, work which was released in North America relevance theorists within sociology, as Max Weber and step out the foundations for the further development of the system, known as structural functionalism, a theoretical systems most influential twentieth-century sociology.
Following the publication of this work, academic progress Parsons had a significant acceleration, was appointed director of the Department of Sociology at Harvard in 1944 and in 1946 he founded and directed the Department of Social Relations, bringing together social scientists from various disciplines. In 1949 he was elected president of the American Sociological Association. In 1951 he published The Social System. During this decade and the next part becomes the most prominent figure of American sociology.
In the late sixties is attacked by radical sociologists, who qualified as politically conservative, and his theory that besides conservatively considered little more than a sophisticated categorization scheme. But in the eighties again Parsons resurgence of interest by influencing their ideas not only in conservative sociologists but also neo-Marxists.
At his death, several of his former students, now great sociologists, have reflected on the work of Parsons and on his personality, showing some interesting ideas about Parsons and his work. Perhaps Robert K. Merton is the most prominent disciple, Merton, which has contributed to the development and renewal of structural functionalism, wrote about his teacher: "The death of Parsons Talcote marks the end of an era of sociology. Surely, the new era [.. .] will be enhanced by the great tradition of sociological thought has left us. "
Talcott Parsons, developed the system of structural functionalism, whose understanding is essential for its schema called agile.
The initials correspond AGIL what Parsons considered four functional imperatives necessary in any system:
- A: Adaptation system should cover all external situations. It must adapt to their environment and adapt the environment to their needs.
- G (Goal attainment): Ability to achieve goals, a system must define and achieve their ultimate goals.
- I: Integration, The system should regulate the interplay between its components. It must also control the relationship between the other functional requirements, A, G and L
- L: latency (pattern maintenance), a system must provide, maintain and renew the motivation of individuals and cultural patterns in it.
The social action system of Parsons, heavily influenced by Weber, is divided into four subsystems that correspond to parts of the scheme AGIL:
1. Social system (Integration)
2. Cultural system (Latency)
3. Personality system (ability to achieve goals)
4. Behavioral Agency (Adaptation)
In their analysis, the lower systems provide the conditions that require superior systems and superior control systems to those at a lower level in the hierarchy. The structural functionalism is established with the following assumptions:
- The systems are characterized the order and interdependence of the parties
- Tend to order or maintaining balance itself
- Systems can be static or enter into an orderly process of change.
- A part of the system influences the way they take the other parts.
- The systems maintain boundaries with their environments.
- The distribution and integration are key processes for the equilibrium of a system
- Tend to self-maintenance systems.
The social system
Parsons considers the social system as a system of interaction, as the basic unit of the system uses the concept-status role. The status refers to a position in the structural system and the role of making the player at that position. Actor is considered as a set of status and roles. Parsons identified a number of functional prerequisites of all social systems:
1. Social systems should be structured so as to be compatible with other systems
2. The social system must have the support of other systems
3. Must meet a significant part of the needs of the actors
4. Should encourage their members a sufficient
5. Should exercise control over potentially disintegrative behavior
6. If a conflict arises it must control
7. Requires a language to survive
For the integration of the social system need to be made to the individual a series of norms and values, through which performs a process of internalization effective it is to become part of the consciousness of the actors. Thus, when actors pursue their interests, both to serve the general interest.
Socialization is defined as a conservative process in which the provisions necessary to unite children with the social system. Parsons believes this socialization as an experience that lasts a lifetime, but should be complemented by more specific socializing experiences. Besides socialization, social control is a complementary defense system of the social system, but a system works better with fewer turns to social control .. The system must tolerate some deviation in order to provide opportunities to express role that allows a number of people without threatening the integrity of the system.
A social system is very important to society, that Parsons has four subsystems emanating from the anointings AGIL:
- The economy (A) is the subsystem that serves to adapt to society through work environment, production and distribution
- The policy (G); seeks to achieve goals by pursuing social objectives and resource mobilization for this purpose
- The societal community (I) performs the integration function, is responsible for coordinating the parts of society.
- The fiduciary system (L), ie socializing institutions, serves as latency when dealing with the transmission of culture, norms and values.
All these systems and subsystems make up society, regarded as a relatively self-sufficient community where members can meet all your individual and collective needs and live within its framework.
Ultimately, Parsons shows a far from ideal structure that currently exists, since the concepts A, which decays into the hands of a few who are not even able to retain, G, who has lost all perspective of civic concept or Politeia, nor I, possibly the most abused by the forces of disintegration, and of course L, which has been enslaved by A. They are far from forming a stable basis for a coherent social action
In view of the current results could think that Talcott Parsons, one of the greatest sociologists of all time and creator of one of the few systems in sociology had accepted a somewhat rigid on society and history.