Famous American and British Sociologists – Contributions

British sociology and American sociology both are perpetuated by British and American sociologists and their theories, Both British and American sociologists were different from classical sociologists and were regarded as contemporary modern sociologists who propounded many sociological theories.

Famous American sociologists Talcott Parsons and Robert k Merton

Talcott Parsons contributed to the theory of action. For several decades American sociology was dominated by parsons and later by Merton. Their focus was on modern industrial societies especially that of American society. They contributed to the development of functionalism. Parsons contributed to the concept f social action, discussed an action frame of reference. He further explains “AGIL”, where  A refers to adaptation, G refers to goal attainment, I refers to interpretation and L refers to latency. His other important theoretical formulation was “pattern variable scheme”. But his theories as other several scholars from the western societies and elsewhere were regarded as difficult to understand and there was a need to present it in a simpler form.

Robert K Merton was American sociologists and a student of Parsons, his contribution was related to the growth of functional analysis. He explained different meanings of function. He makes functional theory as a viable approach. He proposed the postulates of functional analysis.


Prominent British sociologists Herbert Spencer and Radcliffe Brown

Herbert Spencer a “Social Darwinist” took Darwin’s premise of survival of the fittest where those people who could adapt to the social and natural environment would live, those who could not adapt, met with the end. He also saw society as an organism, in which parts were interconnected and each organ had a role or function to perform in the overall working of the organism.

Radcliffe brown was deeply influenced by Emile Durkheim, he contributed towards ‘structural function approach’  and his important contribution was on understanding the concept of social structure. Radcliffe brown’s, social anthropology is the theoretical natural science of human society. Throughout his teaching, he has focussed on the importance of the study of social structure.

Both American and British sociologies were different from each other yet similar in terms of reference from the classical social theories, they were a bit complex and scholars were to learn from the previous shortcomings. During the contemporary period learning from the mistakes of immediate past, taking inspirations from the works of classical sociologists and rebuilding the subject of sociology have been the main concerns.

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Tanya is an excellent team player with strong cognitive skills. She has a keen interest in sociology and is a passionate writer. Currently pursuing a Ph.D., she is a strong believer in righteous acts and good deeds.