Contemporary articles citing Parsons T (1949) Structure Social Act
action, his, writings, contemporary, concept, relational, provide, rather, argues, several
- Silver, Daniel. 2011. "The Moodiness of Action." Sociological Theory. 29:3 199-222.
- This article argues that the concept of moodiness provides significant resources for developing a more robust pragmatist theory of action. Building on current conceptualizations of agency as effort by relational sociologists, it turns to the early work of Talcott Parsons to outline the theoretical presuppositions and antinomies endemic to any such conception; William James and John Dewey provide an alternative conception of effort as a contingent rather than fundamental form of agency. The article then proposes a way forward to a nonvoluntarist theory of action by introducing the notion of moodiness, highlighting how the concept permits a richer conceptualization of actors' prereflexive involvement in and relatedness to nonneutral, demanding situations. Effort is reconceptualized as a moment in a broader process of action, where the mood is fragile and problematical. Finally, the article draws all of these elements together in an outline of a unified portrait of the pragmatist action cycle that includes both creativity and moodiness as essential moments.
- Berk, BB. 2006. "Macro-micro Relationships in Durkheim's Analysis of Egoistic Suicide." Sociological Theory. 24:1 58-80.
- Contemporary theory is increasingly concerned with macro-micro integration. An attempt is made to integrate these levels of analysis in Durkheim's theory of egoistic suicide. Does Durkheim's theory, which is a social system analysis designed to explain differences in suicide rates between groups, have micro implications for specifying which particular individuals within the group will take their lives? In attempting to answer this question by exploring the causal linkages between integration and suicide, Durkheim's theory of egoistic suicide was revealed not to be a singular theory but rather contained several different explanations. The numerous interpretations have resulted from his incompletely specified, inconsistent, unsystematized, and inadequately tested theory. These ambiguities also account for the historically inconsistent research findings that have limited sociologists' ability to advance beyond Durkheim's century-old formulations. Further areas for new research and illustrative hypothesis are suggested.
- Panayotakis, C. 2004. "A Marxist Critique of Marx's Theory of History: Beyond the Dichotomy Between Scientific and Critical Marxism." Sociological Theory. 22:1 123-139.
- This article argues that an application of Marxism to itself can help us transcend Gouldner's (1980) dichotomy between scientific and critical Marxism. After demonstrating that the paradigmatic document of scientific marxism, Marx's Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, turns the structural logic of capitalist economy into the basis for a transhistorical theory of social-economic development, this article explores the limitations of critical Marxism's response to scientific Marxism and concludes that a viable, not class-centered, reformulation of the emancipatory project is possible through an analysis of capitalism's ``dialectic of scarcity.'' The task of the emancipatory project, it is argued, is to turn humanity, and not the working class, from a political subject in itself to a political subject in and for itself.
- Hamilton, RF. 2003. "American Sociology Rewrites Its History." Sociological Theory. 21:3 281-297.
- Sociology textbooks written over the course of the twentieth century provide surprisingly different portraits of the field's origins. Spencer once held a stellar position but is now treated negatively. Marx was once treated negatively but now holds a stellar position. In the 1990s, Harriet Martineau, a prominent nineteenth-century publicist, was announced as a founder. Alexis de Tocqueville received little attention at any time. Some important contemporary sociologists receive very little attention. Questions are raised about the adequacy of this performance.
- Sawyer, RK. 2002. "Durkheim's Dilemma: Toward a Sociology of Emergence." Sociological Theory. 20:2 227-247.
- The concept of emergence is a central thread uniting Durkheims theoretical and empirical work, yet this aspect of Durkheims work has been neglected. I reinterpret Durkheim in light of theories of emergence developed by contemporary philosophers of mind, and I show that Durkheim's writings prefigure many elements of these contemporary theories. Reading Durkheint as an emergentist helps to clarify several difficult and confusing aspects of his work, and reveals a range of unresolved issues. I identify five such issues, and I show how Durkheims writings on emergence suggest potential responses.
- Kumar, K. 2001. "Sociology and the Englishness of English Social Theory." Sociological Theory. 19:1 41-64.
- Although England has a rich tradition of social and political thought, sociology does not figure strongly in this tradition. Several influential accounts-such as those by Noel Annan, Philip Abrams, and Perry Anderson-exist to explain this fact. I examine these accounts and, while largely agreeing with the explanations, question whether we should accept the authors' conclusions. In particular, we need to ask whether England was so different from other countries in this respect. Moreover, even if sociology was weak in England, does this mean that the contribution of English social theory was also weak? What alternative traditions of social thought might exist? In examining the English case, we may get some insight not just into the ``peculiarities of the English'' but also into the way in which the history of sociology has come to be written and into some of the assumptions underlying the nature of sociology as a discipline.
- Tiryakian, EA. 2000. "Parsons's Emergent Durkheims." Sociological Theory. 18:1 60-83.
- Parsons's training as an economist, his graduate stay at Heidelberg, and his participation in the Henderson seminar at Harvard provide major clues to his familiarity with Marshall, Pareto, and Weber-three of the four figures whose convergence forms the major theoretical achievement in The Structure of Social Action. But what led him to Durkheim, since Parsons did not study or reside irt France, yet read Durkheim in the original, remains an enigma. Without resolving the enigma, this paper argues that Parsons had a great deal in common with Durkheim, and equally important, that in his mature and late periods he found in his ``revisits'' of the later writings of Durkheim both inspiration and affinity. I argue that Parsons well deserves recognition as a major authority on Durkheim, and that both combined offer an alternative to the contemporary version of utilitarianism.
- Vandenberghe, F. 1999. "``the Real Is Relational'': an Epistemological Analysis of Pierre Bourdieu's Generative Structuralism." Sociological Theory. 17:1 32-67.
- An internal reconstruction and an immanent critique of Bourdieu's generative structuralism is presented. Rather than starting with the concept of ``habitus,'' as is usually done, the article tries to systematically reconstruct Bourdieu's theory by an analysis of the relational logic that permeates his whole work. Tracing the debt Bourdieu's approach owes to Bachelard's rationalism and Cassirer's relationalism, the article examines Bourdieu's epistemological writings of the 1960s and 70s. It tries to make the case that Bourdieu's sociological metascience represents a rationalist version of Bhaskar's critical realism, and enjoins Bourdieu to give heed to the realist turn in the philosophy of the natural and the social sciences. The article shows how Bourdieu's epistemological assumptions are reflected in his primary theoretical constructs of ``habitus `` and ``field.'' To concretize their discussion, it analyzes Bourdieu's reinterpretation of Weber in his theory of the field of religion and of the young Mannheim in his theory of the scientific field.
- Emirbayer, M. 1996. "Useful Durkheim." Sociological Theory. 14:2 109-130.
- From the mid-1960s through much of the 1980s, Durkheim's contributions to historical-comparative sociology were decidedly marginalized; the title of one of Charles Tilly's essays, ``Useless Durkheim,'' conveys this prevailing sensibility with perfect clarity. Here, ky contrast, I draw upon writings from Durkheim's later ``religious'' period to show how Durkheim has special relevance today for debates in the historical-comparative field. I examine how his substantive writings shed light on current discussions regarding civil society; how his analytical insights help to show how action within civil society as well as other historical contexts is channelled by cultural, social-structural, and social-psychological configurations (plus transformative human agency); and how his ontological commitment to a ``relational social realisin'' contributes to ongoing attempts to rethink the foundations of historical-comparative investigation.
- SEGADY, TW. 1995. "Introduction to the Translation - Weber and Social-psychological Research." Sociological Theory. 13:1 100-101.
- Beckert, J. 1996. "What Is Sociological About Economic Sociology? Uncertainty and the Embeddedness of Economic Action." Theory and Society. 25:6 803-840.
- Beckert, Jens. 2009. "The Social Order of Markets." Theory and Society. 38:3 245-269.
- In this article I develop a proposal for the theoretical vantage point of the sociology of markets, focusing on the problem of the social order of markets. The initial premise is that markets are highly demanding arenas of social interaction, which can only operate if three inevitable coordination problems are resolved. I define these coordination problems as the value problem, the problem of competition and the cooperation problem. I argue that these problems can only be resolved based on stable reciprocal expectations on the part of market actors, which have their basis in the socio-structural, institutional and cultural embedding of markets. The sociology of markets aims to investigate how market action is structured by these macrostructures and to examine their dynamic processes of change. While the focus of economic sociology has been primarily on the stability of markets and the reproduction of firms, the conceptualization developed here brings change and profit motives more forcefully into the analysis. It also differs from the focus of the new economic sociology on the supply side of markets, by emphasizing the role of demand for the order of markets, especially in the discussion of the problems of valuation and cooperation.