Parson's Grand Theory Essay

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Parson's Grand Theory Talcott Parsons' Grand Theory is based in the perspective which is commonly referred to as "structural functionalism." Parsons himself, however, preferred the term "functional analysis" after it was suggested by his student, Robert Merton(Coser 1975). For the most part, "structural functionalism" is the preferred label. Its focus is on the functional requirements, or needs, of a social system that must be met for the system to survive and the corresponding structures that meet those needs. The social systems we are referring to tend to perform the tasks that are necessary for their survival. Sociological analysis comes into play as a search for the social structures that perform those tasks or meet the…show more content…
Spencer's differentiation, as in the mutual dependence of unlike parts of the system brought about inevitably by an increase in a society's size, is thought of today as an important aspect of a social system's interrelatedness and integration. By integration we mean the incorporation of individuals into the social order, which is essential to the maintenance of social equilibrium. It was Durkheim, the most important forerunner of modern functionalism, who championed integration and conceptionalized the function of the division of labor(Wallace and Wolf 1999). Parsons was greatly influenced by these two concepts. Durkheim viewed social evolution as a movement from the mechanical solidarity of tribal societies to the organic solidarity characteristic of industrial societies. At the heart of both societies is the collective conscience, which he defined as "the totality of beliefs and sentiments common to average citizens of the same society." Primitive societies with mechanical solidarity had a strong collective conscience but little individualism. As the division of labor increased, so did individualism. This, in turn, led to a corresponding decrease in the collective conscience and a shift to organic solidarity. With this foundation of great ideas, and his own experience in the biological studies, Parsons was ready to form his own functionalism perspective. His contributions include: his system of action, his action schema,
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