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(born Dec. 13, 1902, Colorado Springs, Colo., U.S.died May 8, 1979, Munich, W.Ger.) U.S. sociologist. Parsons taught at Harvard University from 1927 to 1973. He advocated a structural-functional analysis, a study of the ways that interrelated and interacting units forming the structures of a social system contribute to the system's development and maintenance. He was largely responsible for introducing the work of Émile Durkheim and Max Weber to American sociologists. His major work is The Structure of Social Action (1937). See alsofunctionalism.
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