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Classic on Classic: Parsons' Interpretation of Durkheim

Whitney Pope
American Sociological Review
Vol. 38, No. 4 (Aug., 1973), pp. 399-415
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2094211
Page Count: 17
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Classic on Classic: Parsons' Interpretation of Durkheim
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Abstract

Parsons' commentary on Emile Durkheim's work, first set forth in The Structure of Social Action and later developed is undoubtedly the most influential interpretation yet to appear in English. Parsons attempts to document Durkheim's shift from positivism to the voluntaristic theory of action and to idealism. Neither attempt is successful. Parsons' interpretation often seems as much a function of his own perspectives as of Durkheim's. Examination of Durkheim's theory in light of his intentions and assumptions reveals serious errors in Parsons' analysis.

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