Functionalists believe societies must have certain characteristics in order to survive. Many had doubted that Merton would be accepted into Harvard after graduating from Temple, but he quickly defied the odds and by his second year he had begun publishing with Sorokin. And Merton, boyish at age 36, wearing a Harvard tweed jacket and smoking a pipe. "speech to Robert K. Like Merlin, he always kept an insistence on perfection, on endless polishing, polishing which yet is kept private. Merton was interested in the interactions and importance between social and cultural structures and science. He convinced them that with these new sociological tools they could perceive, explore, analyze, and reveal the social forces that would turn out to be as real. Robert K. Merton was born in Philadelphia, America in July 1910. The clarity and enthusiasm of his young scholar's participation in the class convinced the professor that, once Merton settled on a career he would be a star. I must admit, though, that I was a little concerned that Merton might not see it that way: not many scholars take kindly to questioning one of their most renowned works. In the late 1930s, he went on to create his Strain Theory. But what a glorious ride he enjoyed! After completing these, Merton went on to graduate from Harvard with an MA and PhD in sociology. Merton and Lazarsfeld formed an enormously productive partnership, training generations of students and developing a program of theoretically informed but empirically rigorous research. Juli 1910 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 1. gestorben am 23. Merton, however, managed to have both men on his dissertation committee. Neil Smelser, University of New York: Howard Fertig, 2001, Merton, Robert K. 1939. Ritualists continue to subscribe to the means, but they have rejected the overall goal; they are not viewed as deviant. He was a self-aware performer, but the product was not tricks or trivia. [23] Applied to the United States, he sees the American dream as an emphasis on the goal of monetary success, but without a corresponding emphasis on the legitimate avenues to attaining the Dream. Merton. In doing this, he was able to point out the details as well as the contradictions of the overall concept. In 1994 he was awarded the National Medal of Science for his contributions to the field and for having founded the sociology of science. Merton's work was greatly respected, but he was also charismatic; some would say that he was even glamorous. He remained intellectually active until the end of his life, a witty and engaged presence at conferences, energetic in using email to stay in touch with an extraordinary range of contacts, and still writing. ", Cole, Stephen. Believing deeply in both sociology and in his responsibility for getting it just right, he worked hard and long on his manuscripts. 19 December 1994. I would have welcomed this appellation no matter where or when he employed it, but I thought Merton's sending me this book thus inscribed was wonderfully apposite, for I had once briefly stood on the shoulder of a giant, who was himself standing on the shoulder of another giant. Merton's friends and colleagues credit his guidance to the positive direction of modern sociology as well. If an individual can't achieve this, it can prove frustrating for the individual and may lead to breaking free into illegal escape routes or anger-based delinquency. One group's function could serve as another group's dysfunction, and a general incident could turn out to be both functional and dysfunctional for the same group. And in a 1984 paper he traced the origins of what has become known as the Kelvin Dictum: "When you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind.". Robert K. Merton wieder aufgenommen, um das Phänomen des glücklichen Zufalls zu erläutern. However, unlike Parsons, who emphasized the necessity for social science to establish a general foundation, Merton preferred more limited, middle-range theories. His work, always seminal, brilliant, and sound, initiated research traditions in mass communication and mass persuasion, deviance, medical sociology, bureaucracy and organization, reference group theory, the sociology of knowledge, sociological theory, applied sociology, and above all the sociology of science. Bob Merton possessed the rarest talent of integrating theoretical concerns with rigorous empirical research. We were lucky to have so much time, and we will miss Robert Merton with the same intensity that he lived his life. One of these outcomes is the "self-defeating prophecy", which through the very fact of its being publicized, is actually wrong. [22] According to Merton, paradigm refers to:[6]. According to Merton, there are also two other types of unanticipated consequences:[22]. In addition to Sorokin, Merton apprenticed himself to the historian of science George Sarton�not just for his stay at Harvard but for years of the epistolary exchanges Merton loved. More than twenty universities awarded him honorary degrees, including: Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Chicago University in the US; and, abroad, the Universities of Leiden, Wales, Oslo, Kraków, Oxford, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As a critic he was always selective, never wholesale, and ever gracious and generous in his sharpness. [12] The Merton thesis—similar to Max Weber's famous claim on the link between Protestant ethic and the capitalist economy—proposes a positive correlation between the rise of Protestant Pietism, Puritanism and early experimental science. Now, he exhorted, you can do these things too. I carry, as a heritage, from exposure to his ideas, a passion for the sociological vision. He was already one of the giants many of us had found of great value. Best known for developing theories of deviance, as well as the concepts of " self-fulfilling prophecy " and "role model," Robert K. Merton is considered one of America's most influential social scientists. The phrase is most commonly associated with Sir Isaac Newton, though with the widespread success of On the Shoulders of Giants (1965), Merton must be a very close second. Because the issues are complex and based on a lot of subjective judgement, they cannot be calculated and weighed easily. He was Mr. 339–59. I turned white, but recovered enough to ask "would you like to have lunch sometime?" He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and honored in a host of other ways. …exemplars of codified basic and often tacit assumptions, problem sets, key concepts, logic of procedure, and selectively accumulated knowledge that guide [theoretical and empirical] inquiry in all scientific fields. "The Normative Structure of Science", 1985. He made famous the distinction of �manifest� from �latent� functions, denied that social cohesion could be assumed as �normal,� and gave analysis of social conflict more attention than did Parsons, though not enough to escape the widespread criticism of functionalism that started in the 1960s. This prediction helped to stimulate the socialist movement, which in some countries slowed the development that Marx had predicted. Here, Merton argues, people must be willing to admit that there exist various structural and functional alternatives within society. He was an inspirational teacher and editor, and with his students, such as James S. Coleman and Seymour Martin Lipset, among many others who would become leading figures in the field, he helped to build and legitimate the field of sociology in America. Robert Merton is survived by his wife and collaborator Harriet Zuckerman, by three children, nine grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren�and by thousands of sociologists whose work is shaped every day by his. The role of chance connections�serendipity�in scientific breakthroughs became another enduring focus for Merton�s boundless curiosity and careful scholarship. Everyone is aware of the intended consequences, but the unintended are more difficult to recognize, and therefore, sociological analysis is required to uncover what they may be. Merton. "[6] This newer focus on the social organization of science led Merton to study the reward system in science, priority disputes between scientists, and the way in which famous scientists often receive disproportionate credit for their contributions, while less-known scientists receive less credit than their contributions merit. 25 February 2003. Robert King Merton (engl. And�serendipity again (perhaps)�Merton decided to sit in on the first theory course offered by the young Talcott Parsons, just back from Europe and working through the ideas that would become The Structure of Social Action. ^ Robert K. Merton Remembered." Merton�s parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, and indeed the future RKM was born Meyer R. Schkolnick. Of course, as Merton showed, discoveries once well known could be forgotten, leading to rediscoveries, especially by the young. Merton sees attention to latent functions as increasing the understanding of society: the distinction between manifest and latent forces the sociologist to go beyond the reasons individuals give for their actions or for the existence of customs and institutions; it makes them look for other social consequences that allow these practices' survival and illuminate the way society works.