Category Archives: Sociological Theorists

Sociological Theorists: Norbert Elias

Norbert Elias argued for a developmental approach to the study of society, in contrast for example to Parsons’ static approach; but he was for many years neglected in Britain, none of his works being translated into English during his sojourn as a teacher at Leicester. Like the great French historian Braudel, Elias was interested in… Read More »

Sociological Theorists: Robert Merton

If Parsons became the unacceptable face of structural-functionalism, Merton grew into his role as its more subtle and acceptable interpreter. He was also more interested in Marx than Parsons (Alvin Gouldner was a student). He was critical of the claims that: (a) there is a functional unity to society; (b) all standardized social and cultural… Read More »

Sociological Theorists: Talcott Parsons

Talcott Parsons has suffered from his success. He was the chief exponent of the US-style structural-functionalism that has come closest yet to constituting a Kuhnian dominant paradigm for sociology. His The Social System was the text through the 1950s and ‘60s. The rejection of his work since has in my view been overdone: to fly… Read More »