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Talcott Parsons: Economic Sociologist of the 20th Century



Talcott Parsons: Economic Sociologist of the 20th Century

Laurence S. Moss (Editor), Andrew Savchenko (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-405-15529-8 June 2006 Wiley-Blackwell 256 Pages


Talcott Parsons’ writings are indisputably classics of American sociology. Today, more than a quarter century after Parsons’ death and a full thirty years since he dominated sociological discourse, Parsons’ theories still serve as flashpoints in many debates. Parsons worked his entire life to reconcile the insights of modern economics with modern sociology and to explore how an authentic economic sociology could be developed. The ambivalent reactions by contemporary sociologists surrounding Parsons’ work has motivated this book in an effort to help unify the social sciences by exploring their special competencies and taking stock of their unique insights. Beginning with a transcript of Parsons’ March 10th, 1973, seminar, the book follows with five essays that explore Parsons and the precise connection between his work and some of the ideas in the "new" economic sociology.


The March 10, 1973 Seminar.

A Seminar with Talcott Parsons at Brown University: "My Life and Work" (in two parts) Saturday, March 10, 1973.

Contemporary Responses.

Power: A Note on Talcott Parsons and the Brown University Conversations. (Robert Holton).

A Comment on Talcott Parsons at Brown University. (Giuseppe Sciortino).

On Teasing Out Sociology from Economics: A Brief Note on Parsons and Schumpeter. (Richard Swedberg).

New Directions in Parsons Research and Research in the Tradition of Parsons.

Parsonian Economic Sociology: Bridges to Contemporary Economics. (Milan Zafirovski).

Pareto, Parsons, and the Boundary Between Economics and Sociology. (Paul Dalziel and Jane Higgins).

Economics, Sociology, and the "Professional Complex": Talcott Parsons and the Critique of Orthodox Economics. (John Holmwood) Interpenetration Versus Embeddedness: The Premature Dismissal of Talcott Parsons in the New Economic Sociology. (Jens Beckert).

The Global System of Finance: Scanning Talcott Parsons and Niklas Luhmann for Theoretical Keystones. (Alexandra Hessling and Hanno Pahl).


  • Consists of the first written transcription of a video-taped seminar held at Brown University on March 10, 1973.

  • Contains original essays by Milan Zafirovski, Paul Dalziel, Jane Higgins, John Holmwood, Alexandra Hessling and Hanno Pahl.