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Carleton University
SOCI 3005

Journal for SOCI 3005BContemporary Sociological TheoryPart IErika Brisson100791597Bruce CurtisSOCI3005BKara BrissonBoivinReading1 Talcott Parsons The Present Position and Prospects of Systematic Theory in Sociology in Essays in Sociological Theory Pure and Applied Glencoe The Free Press 1949 1741NoNotesParsons is a functionalist theorist who believes that sociology should be an empirical study that regards society the same way as the natural sciences are regardedBelieves in systems theory Parsons refers to the Frame of Reference in order to explain that we must choose a particular notion to study because one theory cannot explain everything Norms Regularities that happen between actors people and situations Roles Norms cluster together and guide conduct along a range of situationsInstitutions Clusters of dedicated roles are seen as institutions Systems Institutions all working together become a social system Parsons believes that institutions within social systems are not real but rather that they are merely constructs in order for us to make sense of what is going on in our world An Action Frame is part of the frame of referencewhen you take something from the social system and you try to study the regularities in order to make sense of what it is Parsons claims that the most important within the social sciences is actorsituation Regularities are governed by social normsParsons rejects founding fathers such as Marx and their theories because they are not functionalist Believes that everything within a social system has a function that these systems are dynamic and recreate themselves over time Teleology systems are meant to recreate themselves over time Processes of Action functional needs in order to make a system run properly ex food production Questions1Would Parsons think that other cultures systems that were not yet modernized be working dysfunctionally Or did he think that these systems were dependent on the particular roles norms and institutions that were executed in a particular culture to function properly2How did Parsons expect to turn sociology into a natural science when he believed himself that institutions such as school and family were just concepts aka not real 3If systems are dynamic and meant to recreate themselves over time how did Parsons think we were going to reach homeostasis when each decade in history has become different from the lastResponseIn reference to question two Parsons mentions in his essay that we must find an equivalent in sociology to what mathematics gives to physics I do believe that sociology is an empirical discipline in many ways and that we should look at it scientifically however I feel as though in some cases this would not be relevant Humans are not the same as elements on the periodic table Humans are quite complex and all matters of social interactions and society can not be approached in the same fashion This is why as sociology majors we must study quantitative and qualitative research methods I think that if we took the same approach as Parsons did we would only be able to see the tip of the iceberg in relation to conclusions to our research We cannot rely solely on empirical data when there are many more complexities within the sociological realm to take into consideration We need to dive deeper into our research qualitatively on a personal level with whatever we are studying in order to see the big picture I think that as far as grouping sociology with the rest of the hard sciences has some relevance for sure but at the same time we must not rely our complete field of research on empirical methods Sometimes something is better understood when one asks the person in an interview rather than a vague survey Humans especially in the way we function as a society is far too complex to objectify people and societies the same way that the natural sciences do Looking at society in the functionalist perspective almost makes the world look quite mechanical which in my opinion is a very ignorant way to view the world Reading 2 Talcott Parsons Theoretical Orientations on Modern Societies in Politics and Social Structure New York The Free Press 1969 3457NotesExtension of reading number one Parsons believed that each social system has subsystems within them which get integrated
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