Work in Progress


  • The Unpublished Legacy of Talcott Parsons (in cooperation with Victor M. Lidz, fundet by Jubiläumsfonds, Österreichische Nationalbank)

In print:

- Talcott Parsons and Winston White: Values of American Society. Manuscripts from the American Society Project I. Edited and with an Introduction by Victor Lidz and Helmut Staubmann. LIT 2016 (Volume 3 of the book series Studies in the Theory of Action).

In preparation:

- Talcott Parsons and Winston White: Subsystems of American Society. Manuscripts from the American Society Project II. Edited and with an Introduction by Victor Lidz and Helmut Staubmann. LIT Verlag 2017 (Volume 4 of the book series Studies in the Theory of Action).

The two volumes Values of American Society and Subsystems of American Society publish draft materials from a major project that Talcott Parsons undertook during the late 1950s and early 1960s to produce a large volume analyzing and interpreting American society. The materials include exploratory working papers as well as more thoroughly developed draft chapters that Parsons left incomplete when his collaborator, Winston White, suddenly left the academic profession. The editors have provided introductions to both volumes outlining the historical background of the documents, introducing their main conceptual innovations, and critiquing them from the standpoint of contemporary theory.

The working papers in Subsystems of American Society document conceptual developments based on Parsons’ famous four-function paradigm. The included chapters analyze the American economy, polity, and societal community. They represent Parsons’ first attempt to apply the four-function paradigm to the understanding of a complex modern society with highly differentiated institutional structures. As such, they clarify important developments in 20th century sociological theory as well as underscoring Parsons’ insightful understanding of American society.


- Helmut Staubmann and Victor Lidz (Eds). Rationality in the Social Sciences. The Schumpeter/Parsons Seminar 1939/40 and Current Perspectives. Springer 2017.

  • Sociology in a New Key. Essays in Social Theory and Aesthetics. Springer 2018. (Manuscript in preparation).

The book title Sociology in a New Key refers to a classic work by Susanne Langer who’s Philosophy in a New Key argued for a reorientation of modern philosophical thought by a thorough account of symbolism in general and of the arts in particular. In this way, the basic ideas and assumptions of the philosophical tradition get transposed to new understandings and perspectives. It was Georg Simmel who claimed to have gained several of his general theoretical insights “by the detour of reflections on the essence of art”. This volume follows his path. It contains essays dealing with fundamental issues of social and cultural theory by looking at them through the lens of aesthetic theory. Aesthetics thereby is understood in its originally broader meaning as referring to the human capacity to come to terms with the senses, emotions, and with bodily conditions. The consequences for social and cultural theory are elaborated by dealing with the works and concepts of Theodor W. Adorno, Gregory Bateson, Clifford Geertz, Jean Marie Guyau, Siegfried Kracauer, Niklas Luhmann, Talcott Parsons, Georg Simmel and others. An introductory part presents a systematic outline of the theoretical transpositions. A final chapter illustrates its capacity for an understanding of the long lasting success of The Rolling Stones as a reflection of our society and culture.

  • Social Causality

Published chapters pertaining to the project:

“Functionalism and the Theory of Action”. In: Hart, Christopher (Ed.): A Collection of Essays in Honour of Talcott Parsons

“The Rise and Decline of Functionalism and Current Problems of Methodology in the Social Sciences.” Sartoniana 28: 147-161