Talcott Parsons: Theories & Contributions to Sociology

Talcott Parsons: Theories & Contributions to Sociology
Coming up next: George Murdock's Sociology Theories on Family & Culture

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 Talcott Parsons
  • 1:12 Sexual Division of Labor
  • 1:58 Role Theory & Medicine
  • 2:36 The Elderly
  • 3:04 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Moffitt

Kimberly has taught college Sociology and Criminal Justice classes and has a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice.

Talcott Parsons was a sociologist who aligned himself with the structural functional perspective. Learn about his contributions to the field, and test your knowledge with a quiz.

History & Background of Talcott Parsons

Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) was an American sociologist who served on the faculty of Harvard University from 1927 to 1973. Parsons was one of the most influential structural functionalists of the 1950s. As a functionalist, he was concerned with how elements of society were functional for a society. He was also concerned with social order, but argued that order and stability in a society are the result of the influence of certain values in society, rather than in structure such as the economic system.

For example, he believed that stable, supportive families are the key to successful socialization. Parsons also contributed to our understanding of medicine, arguing that medicine is our strategy to keep members of a society healthy, and illness is dysfunctional because it undermines people's ability to perform their roles in a society. Finally, he argued that U.S. society needs to find roles for the elderly.

Talcott Parsons
Parsons

Sexual Division of Labor

Parsons saw the family as operating most efficiently with clear-cut sexual divisions of labor and in turn, creates a complementary set of roles that links men and women together. From this perspective, women should carry out expressive roles, providing care and security to children, while offering them emotional support. Men, on the other hand, would perform an instrumental role - more importantly, being the breadwinner for the family. In other words, women would take the role of managing the household and raising children, while men provide financial support by working outside the home. According to Parsons, this complementary division of labor would ensure stability of the family.

Family
Family

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support