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over-socialized conception of man


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A phrase devised by the American sociologist Dennis Hume Wrong, as part of his critique of functionalism in general, and the sociology of Talcott Parsons in particular. Wrong rejected Parsons's views on socialization and social integration. In ‘The Oversocialised Conception of Man’ (American Sociological Review, 1961) he argued that Parsons's account of socialization had completely lost sight of the tension that Sigmund Freud identified in the contrast between human nature and the requirements of civilized social order. Wrong rejected the view that social actors are simply acceptance-seekers; rather, he argued, human beings should be seen as social without being entirely socialized. The term has also come to be used in relation to the criticisms that Harold Garfinkel has levelled against Parsons for his emphasis on conformity to cultural norms.

Subjects: Sociology.


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