Talcott Parsons was what we call a 'Functionalist'.
'Functionalism' is a social perspective that sees all aspects of society as being a utility and having a purpose for the good of the whole. Functionalists see the world through rose-tinted glasses and tend to explain things in terms of how phenomena happen to keep the status quo and to keep society happy. In a sense, they are the exact opposite of Marxists. Talcott Parsons is therefore the Anti-Karl Marx.
He had nice sentiments. But Parsons glasses were so rose tinted however, he couldn't actually see the reality in front of him.
Take one of his basics, education:
Parsons says that education is like a bridge. It connects the family with the wider society. So a kid leaves his/her mummy, goes through school and at the end of schooling, is ready and ship-shape to enter the big wide world.
Isn't that nice?
How about gender and feminism?
Parsons says that Men and Women have different sex-roles so that they don't compete with each other, you see. Women stay at home and cook the dinner and mop the floor in order to not compete with men, that way the family is safe and secure. Being a functionalist, Parsons had a hard-on for families. Without the family, society breaks down. So anything that serves to keep the family on an even keel is spiffy.
Parsons also said that crime, murder and jail - the deviant criminal nature of society, is very important to society in that they serve the purpose (or function) of teaching the rest of society to stay in line and keep your head down. Jail and punishment is the deterrent that keeps society happy.
Parsons notion was that society was just like a biological organism.
The government represents a brain, the family represents the heart, the workforce represents the muscle and so on.
If that's the case, then the functionalists in society must represent the arsehole...