Parsons and Shils enunciate principles that are at the core of contemporary social science preoccupations-including the precarious balance between social integration and conflict. The volume is at once universal in intent and highly personal, an expression of Parsons' thought, one of the most notable sociological theorists of the century. Finally, the book symbolizes the interdisciplinary impulse that typified a widespread belief in the unity of the sciences. This edition includes the collaborative group's introductory statement, Richard Sheldon's essay on the theoretical and philosophical status of the general theory of action, and "Values, Motives and Systems of Action" by Parsons and Shils.
Guy Swanson, writing in the The American Sociological Review, noted that "Parsons and Shils have performed a major service in clearing away many old controversies, in showing the reasonableness of a behavioral foundation for general theory in social science as a whole and in sociology in particular, in clarifying the interrelations among many concepts, and in the insightful interpretation of particular pieces of data." It is testimony to this book's continuing significance that it continues to generate new lines of research and writings.
In this collection of nineteen essays, Dr. Parsons focuses his attention on subjects ranging from the social structure of Japan to propaganda and social control, from sociological aspects of Fascist movements to the place of psychoanalysis in society. Also dealt with are such topics as: The role of ideas in social action, the motivation of economic activities, American social structure, social classes and class conflict, and the prospects for contemporary sociological theory.
The whole body of essays presented here belongs in the broad field of "application" of sociological theory. It stands in the line of scientific development of the most advanced techniques for sociological investigation and evaluation of data.
Kurz begins with classical economics in ancient Greece and concludes with the visionary work of Kenneth J. Arrow and Amartya Sen. Among many other topics, he explains what Adam Smith meant by an “invisible hand"; how Karl Marx’s “law of motion” works in capitalist economies; the roots of Austrian economists' emphasis on the problems of information, incomplete knowledge, and uncertainty; and John Maynard Keynes’s principle of effective demand and economic stabilization. A final chapter sums up the major concerns of economists today and their relation to world events.
Part I: Mind and Brain
Part II: Behavior in Social Context
Part III: Choice and Allocation
Part IV: Evolving Institutions
Part V: Societies and International Orders
Part VI: Data and Analysis