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Simmel’s Contribution to Parsons’ Action Theory and its Fate

  • Gary Dean Jaworski
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 119)

Abstract

Establishing the place and importance of Simmel’s writings in Talcott Parsons’ work is no easy task. In part, the responsibility for this difficulty lies with Parsons himself. In contrast to the manner in which he established his relationship to other European intellectual figures, Parsons never explicitly identified the role Simmel played in his own intellectual development or the development of his theoretical system (cf. Parsons 1959, 1970, [1978] 1981). This is not to say, however, that this task is impossible. References to Simmel in Parsons’ published and unpublished writings provide the resources to reconstruct Simmel’s role in Parsons’ paradigmatic grounding of sociology.

Keywords

Social Cohesion Action Theory Sociological Theory Relationship Schema Analytical Social Science 
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.

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Reference

  1. 2.
    The above paragraph is based on Martel (1979) and a letter from Talcott Parsons to J. Graham Morgon, 30 November 1970, cited in Buxton (1985, p. 280 n. 2).Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    I am indebted to Donald N. Levine for reminding me of the importance of the year 1936 in the history of sociology and for pointing out the possible connections between those events and the issues that concern us here. Personal correspondence.Google Scholar

Bibliography

  1. This bibliography is divided into two sections: works by Talcott Parsons cited in the text, and other works cited. Both sections include references to sources located in the Parsons Papers of the Harvard University Archives. These sources are referred to by date of the manuscript and by the date and box number of the section of the Parsons Papers in which they appear. Most of the following abbreviations of the archival sections are borrowed from Buxton (1985, p. 299). A few have been added for present purposes.Google Scholar

Works by Talcott Parsons

  1. 1929.
    “Sociology and Social Ethics: Proposed Outline of General Field”. PP, LNA 1929–1978, Box 1.Google Scholar
  2. 1930.
    “Method and Technique of Sociological Research”. PP, CM 1930s–1960s, Box 1.Google Scholar
  3. 1932a.
    “Pareto and the Problems of Positivistic Sociology”. PP, UM 1929–1967, Box 1.Google Scholar
  4. 1932b.
    “[Review of] Ferdinand Toennies, Einfuhrung in die Soziologie”. PP, UM 1929–1967, Box 1.Google Scholar
  5. 1934a.
    “Service”, Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Vol. 13, New York: The Macmillan Co., pp. 672–74.Google Scholar
  6. 1934b.
    “Some Reflections on ‘The Nature and Significance of Economics’”, Quarterly Journal of Economics 48 (May): 511–45.Google Scholar
  7. 1935a.
    “Prolegomena to a Theory of Institutions”. PP, UM 1929–1967, Box 1.Google Scholar
  8. 1935b.
    “The Place of Ultimate Values in Sociological Theory”, International Journal of Ethics 45:282–316.Google Scholar
  9. 1936.
    Georg Simmel and Ferdinand Toennies: Social Relationships and the Elements of Action”, PP, UM 1929–1967, Box 2.Google Scholar
  10. 1939.
    1954, “The Professions and Social Structure”, in: Essays in Sociological Theory, Revised Edition, New York: Free Press, pp. 34–49.Google Scholar
  11. 1942.
    1954, “Propaganda and Social Control”, in: Essays in Sociological Theory, pp. 142–176.Google Scholar
  12. 1952.
    “Sociology and Social Psychology”, in: Religious Perspectives in College Teaching, Hoxie N. Fairchild, ed. New York: Ronald Press, pp. 286–337.Google Scholar
  13. 1959.
    “A Short Account of My Intellectual Development”, Alpha Kappa Deltan 29 (Winter): 3–12.Google Scholar
  14. 1967.
    “Social Science and Theology”, in: America and the Future of Theology, William A. Beardslee, ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, pp. 136–57.Google Scholar
  15. 1937.
    1968, The Structure of Social Action, New York: Free Press. Google Scholar
  16. 1970.
    “On Building Social Systems Theory: A Personal History”, Daedalus 99: 826–81. Google Scholar
  17. 1979.
    Letter to Jeffrey Alexander, 19 January. PP, CRP 1965–1979, Box 1.Google Scholar
  18. 1978.
    1981, “Revisiting the Classics Throughout a Long Career”, in: The Future of the Sociological Classics, Buford Rhea, ed. London: Allen & Unwin, pp. 183–94. Google Scholar

Other Works Cited

  1. Abel, Th.: Systematic Sociology in Germany, New York: Columbia University Press, 1929.Google Scholar
  2. Alexander, J .: Letter to Talcott Parsons, 9 January, PP, CRP 1965–1979, Box 1,1979. Google Scholar
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  13. Paharik, J. G.: “Park and Simmel: A Study in the Development of Systematic Sociolog¬ical Theory”, Ph.D. diss., University of Pittsburgh, 1983.Google Scholar
  14. Simmel, G.: “On the Nature of Historical Understanding”, in: Georg Simmel: Essays on Interpretation in Social Science. Translated, edited and with an introduction by Guy Oakes, Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield, [1918] 1980, pp. 97–126. Google Scholar
  15. Vidich, A. J. and S. M. Lyman: American Sociology: Worldly Rejections of Religion and Their Directions, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985. Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary Dean Jaworski

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