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

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Beckert,  Jens
Soziologie des Marktes, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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AJES_65_2006_Beckert.pdf
(Publisher version), 196KB

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Citation

Beckert, J. (2006). Interpenetration versus Embeddedness: The Premature Dismissal of Talcott Parsons in the New Economic Sociology. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 65(1), 161-188. doi:10.1111/j.1536-7150.2006.00446.x.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-4BDC-B
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.