Parsons, Talcott: Aggression in the Western World
The first half of the 20th century may have been one of the bloodiest and most influential in the history of organized human civilization. Short-sighted despots and courageous heads of state vied for control of a world that was becoming increasingly unprdictable and violent. The nationalistic behavior exhibited by some citizens fostered a great deal of unity amongst like-minded (and similarly situated) individuals. Conversely, the latent fear and insecurity created by the tenuous grasp on freedom often manifested itself as aggression toward groups of individuals that were outside the norm or fundamentally different in some arbitrarily defined manner. As a trained sociologist and a professor of sociology at Harvard University, Talcott Parsons was likely aware of this phenomenon. He had traveled extensively in Nazi Germany prior to the genesis of World War II and had observed first-hand the fervent nationalism being generated by the National Socialist Party. Not long after ...