Selected Moments of the 20th Century

A work in progress edited by Daniel Schugurensky
Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)


In The Social System, Talcott Parsons explains the role of education as a socializing agency

This year, US sociologist Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) publishes The Social System, one of the most influential books in 20th century sociology. Parsons' original work was on Weber (he translated The Protestant Ethic and he Spirit of Capitalism into English), and after graduation he worked for most of his life as a professor at Harvard University. Parsons was arguably the most important thinker of the structural functionalist tradition. His views on the roles of education (particularly in maintaining societal equilibrium and ensuring social order) had a profound impact on the analysis of educational institutions, but also on educational policies and practices. For more information on Parson's analysis of education within the social system, please see:

Prepared by DS
February 2001

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