Advertisement

Qualitative Sociology

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

Fractured weber: A critique of parsons' interpetation

  • Chong Soo Lee
  • Peter A. Munch
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Social System Social Psychology General Theory Social Change Social Issue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bendix, Reinhard 1971 "Two sociological traditions." in Reinhard Bendix and Guenther Roth, Scholarship and Partisanship: Essays on Max Weber. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 282–298.Google Scholar
  2. Cohen, Jere, Lawrence E. Hazelrigg, and Whitney Pope 1975 "De-Parsonizing Weber: A critique of Parsons' interpretation of Weber's sociology." American Sociological Review 40 (April):229–241.Google Scholar
  3. Lee, Chong Soo 1975 Max Weber's Perspective on Modernization. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Department of Sociology, Southern Illinois University.Google Scholar
  4. Munch, Peter A. 1957 "Empirical science and Max Weber'sverstehende Soziologie." American Sociological Review 22 (February):26–32.Google Scholar
  5. ———— 1975 "‘Sense’ and ‘intention’ in Max Weber's theory of social action." Sociological Inquiry 45(4):59–65.Google Scholar
  6. Parsons, Talcott 1937 The Structure of Social Action: A Study in Social Theory with Special Reference of a Group of Recent European Writers. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  7. ———— 1947 "Introduction." in Max Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. translated by A. M. Henderson and Talcott Parsons. Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press, pp. 1–86.Google Scholar
  8. ———— 1963 "Introduction." in Max Weber, The Sociology of Religion. translated by Ephraim Fischoff. Boston: Beacon Press, pp. xix-lxvii.Google Scholar
  9. ———— 1966 Societies: Evolutionary and Comparative Perspectives. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  10. ———— 1971a The System of Modern Societies. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  11. ———— 1971b "Values-freedom and objectivity." in Max Weber and Sociology Today, edited by Otto Stammer. New York: Harper and Row, pp. 27–50.Google Scholar
  12. ———— 1972 "Commentary on Clark." in Andrew Effrat, ed., Perspectives in Political Sociology New York: The Bobbs-Merril Company.Google Scholar
  13. ———— 1975a "Comment on Cohen, Hazelrigg and Pope (ASR April 1975) on ‘De-Parsonizing Weber’." American Sociological Review 40 (October):666–670.Google Scholar
  14. ———— 1975b "Social structure and the symbolic media of interchange." in Peter M. Blau, ed., Approaches to Social Structure, New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  15. Pope, Whitney, Jere Cohen, and Lawrence E. Hazelrigg 1975 "On the divergence of Weber and Durkheim: A critique of Parsons' convergence thesis." American Sociological Review 40 (August):417–427.Google Scholar
  16. Roth, Guether 1971 "Max Weber's comparative approach and historical typology." in Ivan Vallier, ed., Comparative Methods in Sociology: Essays on Trends and Applications. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 75–93.Google Scholar
  17. ———— 1975 "Socio-historical model and developmental theory: Charismatic community, charisma of reason and the counterculture." American Sociological Review 40 (April):148–157.Google Scholar
  18. ———— 1976a "History and sociology in the work of Max Weber." British Journal of Sociology 27 (September):306–318.Google Scholar
  19. ———— 1976b "Religion and revolutionary beliefs: sociological and historical dimensions in Max Weber's Work—in memory of Ivan Vallier (1927–1974)." Social Forces 55 (December):257–272.Google Scholar
  20. Tenbruck, Friedrich H. 1975 "Das Werk Max Webers." Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 27 (December):663–702.Google Scholar
  21. Weber, Max 1913 "Ueber einige Kategorien der verstehenden Soziologie." Logos 4 (also in: Weber 1968b:427–474).Google Scholar
  22. ———— 1924 Wirtschafts-Geschichte: Abriss der universalen Sozial-und Wirtschafts-Geschichte, aus den nachlassenen Vorlesungen herausgegeben von S. Hellmann und Dr. M. Palyi. Zweite, unveränderte Auflage. München und Leipzig: Duncker & Humbolt.Google Scholar
  23. ———— 1949 The Methodology of the Social Sciences. translated and edited by Edward A. Shils and Henry A. Finch. Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  24. ———— 1963 The Sociology of Religion. translated by Ephraim Fischoff. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  25. ———— 1968a Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. New York: Bedminster Press.Google Scholar
  26. ———— 1968b Gesammelte Aufsatze zur Wissenschaftslehre. Dritte, erweiterte und verbesserte Auflage, herausgegben von Johannes Winckelmann. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations