ERIC Number: EJ1083000
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
The Making of Parsons's "The American University"
Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy, v53 n4 p307-325 Dec 2015
Talcott Parsons is often identified as the "master" of mid-twentieth-century social theory. In the 1960s and 1970s, however, his writings were hardly any longer discussed, but mostly neglected. "The American University" is Parsons's last monograph published during his lifetime. On the basis of extensive archival research, this paper discusses the conception, construction and publication of this monograph. The first section clarifies how and why some fine distinctions were made within "the team," viz. between co-author (Gerald Platt), collaborator (Neil Smelser) and editorial associate (Jackson Toby). The second section focuses on the two epilogues of this monograph, viz. Smelser's epilogue to "The American University" and Parsons's epilogue to Smelser's coeval study on "Public Higher Education in California," in which the tensions within "the team" surfaced most visibly. The third section looks at the publication of the monograph and the failed attempts to complete related research projects. Altogether, this reconstruction of the making of "The American University" clearly illuminates the descending phase of Parsons's scientific career. It also sheds light on the substantive problems of the work Parsons produced in the latter part of his life and career.
Descriptors: Social Theories, Universities, Authors, Higher Education, Public Colleges, Research, Collaborative Writing, Publications
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; United States