The Theory of Action: Talcott Parsons and After

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Title:The Theory of Action: Talcott Parsons and After
Creators:
Balon, Jan; janbalon at seznam dot cz; Filosofický ústav AV ČR, Praha, Jilská 1, Praha 1, 110 00, Czech Republic
Journal or Publication Title:
Teorie vědy / Theory of Science, 31, 2, pp. 41-70
Uncontrolled Keywords:action; Parsons; contradiction; system; general theory; conceptual scheme; voluntarism

Abstract

This article focuses on the problems and contradictions of sociological theories of action. It investigates critically the development of the theory of action after the Parsonian synthesis, drawing attention to the limitations of articulating the concept of action systematically within a presuppositional framework of analytical theory. Having exposed Parsons general theory of action and some interpretations and criticisms, the paper addresses the so-called “return of grand theory”, spearheaded in the early 1980s by authors such as Alexander, Habermas, Giddens and Luhmann. The article analyses the conceptual innovations introduced by their theories according to Parsons own definition of theoretical work, which – as he said – consists in reconstruction and transformation of categories in the moments of their failure. While it is argued that sociological theory cannot do away with general concepts, it is also argued that these need not have the form of a synthetic theory of action of the kind outlined by Parsons and the Post-Parsonians.

Official URL: http://teorievedy.flu.cas.cz

Title:The Theory of Action: Talcott Parsons and After
Creators:
Balon, Jan; janbalon at seznam dot cz; Filosofický ústav AV ČR, Praha, Jilská 1, Praha 1, 110 00, Czech Republic
Uncontrolled Keywords:action; Parsons; contradiction; system; general theory; conceptual scheme; voluntarism
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions:Humanities and Social Sciences > 9. Section of Humanities and Philology > Institute of Philosophy > Teorie vědy (Theory of Science)
Journal or Publication Title:Teorie vědy / Theory of Science
Volume:31
Number:2
Page Range:pp. 41-70
ISSN:1210-0250
Publisher:Kabinet pro studium vědy, techniky a společnosti při Filosofickém ústavu Akademie věd České republiky
Related URLs:
URLURL Type
http://teorievedy.flu.cas.cz/index.php/tv/article/view/28UNSPECIFIED
ID Code:5949
Item Type:Article
Deposited On:11 Jun 2010 22:56
Last Modified:11 Jun 2010 22:56

Citation

Balon, Jan (2009) The Theory of Action: Talcott Parsons and After. Teorie vědy / Theory of Science, 31 (2). pp. 41-70. ISSN 1210-0250

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