Parsons T. Essays In Sociological Theory

Parsons T. Essays In Sociological Theory-6
His overall project can be described as an effort to refute a Weberian view of modernity with Durkheimian means.Theoretically, he regarded religion as a source of general images of order and specific societal values, crucial to maintaining minimal coherence in any society.Parsons's first and last publications (1928-1929, 1979)—on Weber's and Sombart's view of capitalism and on economic and religious symbolism in the West, respectively—display the strong Weberian thrust in all his work.

His overall project can be described as an effort to refute a Weberian view of modernity with Durkheimian means.Theoretically, he regarded religion as a source of general images of order and specific societal values, crucial to maintaining minimal coherence in any society.Parsons's first and last publications (1928-1929, 1979)—on Weber's and Sombart's view of capitalism and on economic and religious symbolism in the West, respectively—display the strong Weberian thrust in all his work.

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(1902-1979) Leading American sociological theorist and student of religion; "a somewhat backsliding Protestant of Congregationalist background" (193) who spent most of his career as Professor of Sociology at Harvard University; President, American Sociological Association, 1949; Chairman of the Committee for the Scientific Study of Religion (CSSR, the nascent SSSR), 1952-1953.

An active figure in his discipline, Parsons was prominent in numerous professional organizations and cofounded the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Parsons trained and influenced many acclaimed scholars, notably specialists in the study of religion such as Robert Bellah, Clifford Geertz, and Benton Johnson.

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Yet the normative pattern that provides a society its identity is the single most important functional facet that Parsons emphasizes throughout. Whatever else it is, a society must be a moral community; those who belong to it necessarily share a religion in some sense—and vice versa (190).

American society, Parsons claimed, in fact functioned as a moral community bound by a civil religion that consisted of very general but transcendent values.

Similarly, Parsons thought of Christianity, especially in its ascetic Protestant incarnation, as giving special significance to such "worldly" domains as the economic and erotic while at the same time introducing a special tension between worldly motives and transcendent religious aspirations.

But whereas Weber thought that Protestantism was bound to lose its social influence in a rationalized society, Parsons claimed that the Protestant worldview remained significant in modern times.

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