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Talcott Parsons on Society - Dictionary of Arguments

Habermas IV 211
Society/Talcott Parsons/Habermas: "Society" is understood by Parsons as the structural component, which defines by legitimately ordered interpersonal
Habermas IV 212
relationships the status, i.e. the rights and duties of group members, culture and personality are merely presented as functional supplements to the "social community": culture provides society with values that can be institutionalized; and the socialized individuals contribute motivations that are appropriate to the standardized expectations of behavior.
Against this:
Mead/Habermas: in the tradition based on Mead, social theory is based on a concept of the lifeworld that is shortened to the aspect of the socialization of individuals. Representatives of symbolic interactionism are: H. Blumer, A.M. Rose, A. Strauss or R. H. Turner.
Habermas: in this tradition the social theory is shrinking to social psychology.
Habermas IV 357/358
Society/System Theory/Parsons/Habermas: in its system-theoretical turn Parsons defines society as a system in an environment that can achieve self-sufficiency or independence through the ability of self-control and maintain it for the duration of its existence. (1)
Secondly, he defines them as an action system in which culture and language provide the constitutive provisions instead of the value-oriented purpose activity. (2) In action systems, the traditional cultural patterns penetrate through the medium of language with the genetically propagated organic equipment of the individual members of society. Collectives, which are composed of socialized individuals, are the carriers of the action systems.
Third, each action system is a zone of interaction and mutual penetration of four subsystems: Culture, society, personality and organism. Each of these subsystems is specialized in a basic function. (3)
Habermas IV 359
Subsystems: since they have a relative autonomy, they are in contingent relationships with each other. However, these are determined to a certain extent by their membership of the common action system. The subsystems form environments for each other.


1 T.Parsons, Societies, Englewood Cliffs, 1966, S. 7.
2. Ebenda S. 5.
3. Ebenda S. 7.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

ParCh I
Ch. Parsons
Philosophy of Mathematics in the Twentieth Century: Selected Essays Cambridge 2014

ParTa I
T. Parsons
The Structure of Social Action, Vol. 1 1967

ParTe I
Ter. Parsons
Indeterminate Identity: Metaphysics and Semantics 2000

Ha I
J. Habermas
Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne Frankfurt 1988

Ha III
Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. I Frankfurt/M. 1981

Ha IV
Jürgen Habermas
Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns Bd. II Frankfurt/M. 1981


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