Review by Choice Review
Talcott Parsons was the leading US sociologist of the 1950s and early 1960s. When he died in 1979, he left behind one incomplete manuscript, "American Society," which has now been edited and published by Giuseppe Sciortino of the Universita di Trento, Italy. By the late 1960s, Parsons's influence was declining because a new generation felt he did not understand social conflict, how societies could be deliberately organized to help some at the expense of others. Many believed his ideas were too abstract to illuminate contemporary events and trends. This book demonstrates how Parsons attempted to develop a framework applicable to concrete situations. He tries to understand US society by focusing on specific examples, particularly Watergate, when the Nixon administration threatened the fundamental structure of US democracy by exceeding its authority and tried to undermine the civil liberties of its opponents, especially critics of its policies in Vietnam. Parsons then looks at the mechanism through which social stability was restored as the administration was removed from office. This book helps remind readers how Parsonian structural functional can be used to illuminate how social crisis can be overcome. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students/faculty. Y. R. Magrass University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.