Talcott Parsons 1902-1979

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The major theoretical line of the order tradition now passes from the Europeans to the American sociologist Talcott Parsons. Born in Colorado at the turn of the century, Parsons graduated from Amherst College with a major in biology. He was a graduate student at the London School of Economics, where his sociology was well complemented by his study under the renowned functionalist anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski. Later, while at Heidelberg, Parsons came to be influenced by the thought of Max Weber. Here he took his Ph.D. in sociology and economics, defending his dissertation on the treatment of capitalism in the theoretical systems of Max Weber and Werner Sombart. After a year as instructor of economics at Amherst, Parsons joined the faculty of sociology at Harvard University in 1927 (Perdue, 1986, p. 112).