Biography of Talcott Parsons
For anyone interested in learning more about noteworthy sociologists of the 20th century, a biography of Talcott Parsons is considered mandatory reading. An American sociologist, Talcott Parsons was one of the most prominent sociologists of his time.
Talcott Parsons was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado on December 13, 1902. He married Helen Bancroft Walker in 1927, with whom he had three children. While visiting Munich, Germany, Parsons suffered a major stroke and died on May 8, 1979.
Talcott Parsons studied biology, philosophy and sociology at Amherst College. After his 1924 graduation from Amherst, Parsons studied at the London School of Economics where he was strongly influenced by the works of Leonard Hobhouse and Bronislaw Malinowski among others. He then earned his PhD. in economics and sociology from the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
From 1927 to 1973, Parsons served on the faculty of Harvard University. Although he made contributions to a number of fields, such as economics, race relations and anthropological small group dynamics, Parsons is most well known as a sociologist. He developed the "sick role" concept in medical sociology in association with psychoanalysis. Parsons played an important role in the development of "The Grand Theory," which was an effort to integrate the different social sciences into a single theoretical framework. Most of his work focused on the concept of "Structural Functionalism," the concept of analyzing society through a general theoretical system. Parsons' main goal was to utilize multiple social science disciplines to create a single general theory of human relationships.
Although he was accused of being ethnocentric, Talcott Parsons was a bold and innovative sociologist for his time. Known for his contributions to pattern variables, functionalism and neo-evolutionism, Parsons published more than 150 books and articles.