Some Problems Confronting Sociology as a Profession

Talcott Parsons



Talcott Parsons wrote this paper as a basis for discussion at the General Session: Analysis of the Sociological Profession organized within the frame of annual meeting of the American Sociological Society in Chicago. He sketched here some of the most urgent problems facing sociological profession. These problems can be broken down into four basic questions. The most central of these concerns the extent to which the canons of scientific objectivity have come to be established as the working code of the profession in dealing with defined intellectual subject matters. The second concerns the present clarity of the differentiation from and relation to neighboring scientific disciplines, so that we can speak with certain definiteness about what, as distinct from other scientists, a sociologist does. The third question concerns the differentiation of sociology as a science from sociological “practice” and its proper relation to applied field. Finally, there is a problem of sociology’s differentiation as a scientific discipline and a relation to the non-scientific aspects of the general culture.


sociology as a science, professionalization; organizational basis; sociology and its publics;

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: