Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 26–41 | Cite as

Fractured weber: A critique of parsons' interpetation

  • Chong Soo Lee
  • Peter A. Munch


The authors argue that Parsons, through commitment to his “convergence thesis” and to his structural-functionalism coupled with his biological evolutionism, misrepresents Weber. Parsons arbitrarily applies to the Weberian tradition his own criteria biased against history. His general theoretical focus inclines toward the tradition of the functionalist Durkheim and that of the evolutionist Spencer. The authors contend that the later metamorphosis of Parsons' general theory of action into a theory of social systems has resulted in an abstract conception of social reality that is incongrous with Weber's view. The source of the Parsonian bias is further traced in his psychologization of Weber. Finally, it is asserted that Parsons represents a case of a-historicism incompatible with the Weberian tradition, with the consequence that the important contributions of Weber's historical sociology for the understanding of social change in the modern world are lost.


Social System Social Psychology General Theory Social Change Social Issue 
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Copyright information

© Syracuse University 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chong Soo Lee
    • 1
  • Peter A. Munch
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyChungnam National UniversityKorea
  2. 2.Department of SociologySouthern Illinois UniversityUSA

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