chapter  2
37 Pages

A Product of Modern European Civilization

This chapter explains the Parsons-Homans controversy, which culminated in Homanss Presidential Address at the American Statistical Association (ASA) Meetings in Montral, made Parsons realize that utilitarianism, supposedly disavowed decisively, had come back with a vengeance. It tells the story of how Homans came to attack his Harvard colleague personally and publicly, as President of the ASA, when he addressed an audience of thousands. The chapter deals with how economism in the work of Homans but also James Coleman as well as Becker made Parsons rethink his answer to the question of where to locate in the society the democratic centerpiece that characterizes the most modern of modern democracies. The societal community was the name he gave to that integrative component of a social system which defined the prevailing forms of interaction and solidarity, holding persons together in collective consciousness and endeavor.