Summary of Parsons

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  • Parsons 1902-1972
    • Organic analogy
      • Society and the body have basic needs- system needs
      • These needs are met through functions- ensuring survival.
      • Society and the body act as systems.
    • System needs
      • GOAL ATTAINMENT society has set goals and needs ways to achieve them.
      • ADAPTATION The social system meets it's members' material needs through the economic sub-system.
      • INTEGRATION Different aspects of society need to be integrated to pursuit shared goals.
      • LATENCY Maintaining society over time.
    • Social Order
      • Achieved through a shared culture of central value system.
      • All members must agree the norms and values.
        • Value consensus
    • Structural consensus theory
      • Value consensus
      • Top-down approach
    • Changes in society
      • Structural differentiation- where separate and specialised functions and institutions develop to meet the new needs of society.
      • The moving equilibrium, where as aspects of society develop other aspects of society will develop alongside it to compensate the change.
    • Integration of individuals
      • Individuals need to be integrated into societal norms in order to meet the systems needs.


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