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Interpenetration versus Embeddedness: The Premature Dismissal of Talcott Parsons in the New Economic Sociology

Jens Beckert and Lissa Janoski
The American Journal of Economics and Sociology
Vol. 65, No. 1, Talcott Parsons: Economic Sociologist of the 20th Century (Jan., 2006), pp. 161-188
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27739556
Page Count: 28
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Interpenetration versus Embeddedness: The Premature Dismissal of Talcott Parsons in the New Economic Sociology
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Abstract

The economy and economics are important fields in Talcott Parsons's work. Parsons's contributions on this subject were, however, mostly critically received in the new economic sociology. In this article, main points of criticism of Parsons's economic sociology will be discussed and the question asked whether the importance of Parsons's works in economic sociology was adequately treated. It will be demonstrated that the critical assessments was based for the most part on theoretical conceptions Parsons developed during his structural-functionalist period. Hence the assessments neglected to discuss the theory of expressive-symbolic communication of affect that Parsons developed in his later systems-functionalist period. However, precisely these later theoretical developments correlate directly with the concept of social embeddedness as a key concept in the new economic sociology. A stronger linking with this development in Parsons's theory could bring economic sociology closer to finding a foundation in action theory, which has been missing up to the present.

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