A while back, I offered a basic concepts post that discussed the four norms identified by sociologist Robert K. Merton [1] as the central values defining the tribe of science. He edited Qualitative and Quantitative Social Research (1979), containing papers in honour of Paul Lazarsfeld, and Sociological Traditions from Generation to Generation (1980). Robert K. Merton (RKM) (Merton, 1968). He spent most of his career teaching at Columbia University, where he attained the rank of University Professor. We were interested in the influential concepts in the book (e.g.,“self-fulfilling” or Robert K. Merton was born in 1910s. In 1948, Merton used the term "self-fulfilling prophecy" in an article. Robert King Merton (1910-2003) is a self-styled “Durkheimian,” writing very much in the functional tradition. A figure whose wide-ranging theoretical and methodological contributions have become fundamental to the field, Merton is best known for introducing such concepts and procedures as unanticipated consequences, self-fulfilling prophecies, focused group interviews, middle-range theory, opportunity structure, and analytic paradigms. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Robert-K-Merton, Robert King Merton - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Robert King Merton (July 4, 1910 – February 23, 2003) was a distinguished American sociologist. Additional Information. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. His son, economist Robert C. Merton, won a Nobel Prize in 1997. Corrections? Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers. Among the notable concepts that Merton developed are "unintended consequences," the "reference group," "role strain," " manifest function ", "role model," and "self-fulfilling prophecy." Merton was also one of the pioneers of modern policy research, studying things such as housing projects, the use of social research by the AT&T Corporation, and medical education. Nearly 30 years ago, in a 1993 Nike commercial, professional basketball legend Charles Barkley fired the first shot at the “role model” concept popularized by Columbia University sociologist Robert K. Merton in the aftermath of the 1960s counterculture movement. Merton’s version of functionalism has been particularly influential. He retired from teaching altogether in 1984. There are many norms in this theory. Robert K. Merton. By Frank W. Elwell . Robert K. Merton was born Meyer R. Schkolnick in Philadelphia into a working class Eastern European Jewish Immigrant family. America experienced The Great Depression from 1929 to 1939. He changed his name at the age of 14 to Robert Merton, which evolved out of a teenage career as an amateur magician as he blended the names of famous magicians. He framed his discussion of this concept with symbolic interaction theory, which states that, through interaction, people bring about a shared definition of the situation in which they find themselves. An Introduction to Robert K. Merton Ethos is basically a Greek word that means characteristics or character. Anomie in the simplest terms is a … This volume offers scholars of sociology and allied areas the fruits of an international conference on the contributions of the eminent Robert K. Merton. Merton taught at Harvard until 1938 when he became professor and chairman of the Department of Sociology at Tulane University. His approach took the form of middle range theory, through which he believed we could understand specific social phenomena. Notable contributions include his work on the concept of anomie in relation to social structure, his development of Weber's conception of bureaucracy, and his pioneering w… Robert K. Merton was one of the most influential 20th-century sociologists. He next served on the faculty of Tulane University (1939–41) and then accepted an appointment at Columbia University (1941), where he became a full professor in 1947 and was named Giddings Professor of Sociology in 1963. Talcott Parsons (1902- 79) and Robert K. Merton (1910-2003), who each drew extensively on Durkheim, were two of its most prominent adherents. Robert K. Merton, in full Robert King Merton, original name Meyer Robert Schkolnick, (born July 4, 1910, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.—died February 23, 2003, New York, New York), American sociologist whose diverse interests included the sociology of science and the professions, sociological theory, and mass communication. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Robert K. Merton. In this Book. Robert K. Merton is a sociologist who was also known as the “father of sociology”. Along the way, he developed concepts that would become part of the general lexicon, including role models, serendipity, unanticipated consequences, and the self-fulfilling prophecy. Concepts and the Social Order. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. c. Howard Becker. Omissions? Robert K. Merton's Self-Fulfilling Prophecy . Their academic collaboration, from 1941 to 1976, strengthened the standards of training for the social sciences. b. Robert K. Merton. In this view, the social order is solely a … He helped create many different theories such as aniome, social structure as well as the different modes of individual adaption. ed. Within Functionalism, the most significant criticisms come from Robert K. Merton (1968). Robert K. Merton Remembered. Concepts and the Social Order: Robert K. Merton and the Future of Sociology. Robert Merton, pursued a version of Parsons’s functionalism, but did so in a much more critical way. He served as associate director of the university’s Bureau of Applied Social Research (1942–71), which had opened under the direction of Paul Lazarsfeld one year before Merton’s arrival. Merton had a long and prolific academic career, recognized both for his excellence in teaching and in his theoretical work in sociology. “I am not a role model,” Barkley proclaimed in the half-minute spot. Other works by Merton include Mass Persuasion (1946), On the Shoulders of Giants (1965), On Theoretical Sociology (1967), Social Theory and Functional Analysis (1969), The Sociology of Science (1973), and Social Ambivalence and Other Essays (1976). ” The term first appeared in Robert K. Merton’s socialization research of medical students. He spent most of his career teaching at Columbia University, where he attained the rank of University Professor. He defined the interrelationship between social theory and empirical research, advancing a structural-functional approach to the study of society and creating the concepts of manifest and latent function and dysfunction. The term role model generally means any “person who serves as an example, whose behavior is emulated by others. Robert K. Merton is part of G.I. This book was to lay down a manifesto for socio-logical analysis in the immediate postwar period, and retains a major impact seventy years later. His other contributions to the field deeply shaped and helped developed fields such as the study of bureaucracy, deviance, communications, social psychology, social stratification, and social structure. Robert K. Merton developed this concept from W. I. Thomas' "definition of the situation," i.e., "If men define things as real, they are real in … (1995). The concepts of culturally approved goals and the legitimate means of achieving these goals was devised by a. Émile Durkheim. Conformity: pursing cultural goals through socially approved means. The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology. Discover what happened on this day. Britannica Kids Holiday Bundle! While at the Bureau of Applied Social Research, he began using focused interviews with groups to obtain reactions to such things as films and written materials. 2. In 1941 he joined the Columbia University faculty where he was named to the University's highest academic rank, University Professor, in 1974. It states that prediction comes true because people believe in it and, in fact, make it happen. The assessment, as good in content as well as in participants, took place in Amalfi, Italy, with the participation of Merton himself and under the auspices of the Italian Sociology Association. Johnson, A. Robert K. Merton [1910-2003] Merton on Structural Functionalism. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Indispensability – Parsons assumes that everything in society – the family, religion and so on – is functionally indispensable in its existing form. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. After receiving a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1936, Merton joined the school’s faculty. d. Edwin Lemert. In his first work in the sociology of science, Science, Technology and Society in Seventeenth Century England (1938), he studied the relationship between Puritan thought and the rise of science. Late in his life, he penned a number of autobiographical articles that brought a sociological framework to bear on the development of his work over time. Another theory attributed to Merton is the self-fulfilling prophecy. It provided the intellectual foundation for Merton‘s attempt to develop a macro-level explanation of rates of norm violating behaviour in American society. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Abstract Over the period of three quarters of a century, Robert K. Merton demonstrated an impressive productivity as a sociologist of different specialties. Robert Merton's contribution to sociology is one of great importance in regards to the functional perspective of society. Dr. Merton expanded on the work of French sociologist Émile Durkheim on anomie with his theory on deviance and social strain. NOW 50% OFF! In 1979 Merton retired from the University and became an adjunct faculty member at Rockefeller University and was also the first Foundation Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. Robert K. Merton has 48 books on Goodreads with 8676 ratings. Merton also coined colloquial terms such as “self-fulfilling prophecy” and “role models,” and he wrote at length on the concept of serendipity. ROBERT K. MERTON Harvard University T HERE persists a notable tendency in sociological theory to attribute the malfunctioning of social structure primarily to those of man's imperious biological drives which are not adequately restrained by social control. Merton and other functionalists … He carried out extensive research in the field, developing the Merton Thesis, which explained some of the causes of the Scientific Revolution. This is reflected in each of the 12 chapters by internationally acclaimed scholars witnessing the range of fields Merton has … Robert K. Merton (1910-2003) is one of the classical writers who have significantly shaped the intellectual and institutional development of the social sciences throughout his lifetime. Book Description: Offers a comprehensive perspective on knowledge production in the field of sociology. Robert King Merton (born Meyer Robert Schkolnick; 4 July 1910 – 23 February 2003) was an American sociologist. Throughout his career, more than 20 universities awarded him honorary degrees, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Chicago as well as several universities abroad. The 1910s represented the culmination of European militarism. Among the notable concepts that Merton developed are "unintended consequences," the "reference group," "role strain," "manifest function", "role model," and "self-fulfilling prophecy. 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 was also one of the pioneers of modern policy research, studying things such as housing projects, the use of social research by the AT&T Corporation, and medical education. Much of Merton’s work found its way into the mainstream. Merton received many awards and honors for his research. A prolific writer, editor, teacher, and scholar, Merton examined a broad variety of topics from a sociological perspective while developing concepts and theories aimed at linking particular phenomena to more general social patterns. Definition of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy in Sociology, Manifest Function, Latent Function, and Dysfunction in Sociology, The Life of Talcott Parsons and His Influence on Sociology, The Major Theoretical Perspectives of Sociology, Anthony Giddens: Biography of British Sociologist, Sociological Explanations of Deviant Behavior, Social Theory and Social Structure (1949), On The Shoulders of Giants: A Shandean Postscript (1985). ... As has been previously shown, some of Merton’ s concepts are commonly applied . The two men’s work was complementary: Lazarsfeld combined quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, along with his logic of concept clarification, and thereby influenced Merton’s orientation to historical studies. This technique gave rise to focus groups, which have become critical tools for marketers and politicians. Updates? Moreover, Merton’s gift for theory influenced Lazarsfeld’s philosophical grasp of sociology. Generation also known as The Greatest Generation. the legacies of T alcott Parsons and Robert K. Merton in the social science literature. He criticises three key assumptions of Parsons. Robert King Merton (born Meyer Robert Schkolnick; 4 July 1910 – 23 February 2003) was an American sociologist who is considered a founding father of modern sociology, and a major contributor to the subfield of criminology. In Social Theory and Social Structure (1949; rev. In 1994, he was awarded the National Medal of Science for his contributions to the field and for having founding the sociology of science. Merton argued that when individuals are faced with a gap between their goals (usually finances/money related) and their current status, strain occurs. 1968), Merton developed a theory of deviant behaviour based on different types of social adaptation. The . Merton was very passionate about the sociology of science and was interested in the interactions and importance between social and cultural structures and science. ", Calhoun, C. (2003). When faced with strain, people have five ways to adapt: 1. He was the first sociologist to receive the award. He is also credited as the creator of the focus group research method. Robert Merton in his theoretical analysis of ‘Social Structure and Anomie’ takes inspiration from Durkheim‘s work. Moreover, it is a tribute to the scope of Merton's work and the influence Merton has had on the work and life of sociologists around the world. In this particular theory, Robert K. Merton actually tries to define and set boundaries regarding what scientists should do, should be allowed to do, or what will be good for a scientist to practice. Robert K. Merton was born July 4, 1910 and died February 23, 2003. This situation would provide the contexts for work and crime which Merton would theorise on in his work ‘Social Structure and Anomie‘ in 1938. Merton attended Temple College for undergraduate work and Harvard for graduate work, studying sociology at both and earning his doctorate degree in 1936. In 1994 Merton became the first sociologist to receive a National Medal of Science. He spent most of his career teaching at Columbia University, where he attained the rank of University Professor. He was one of the first sociologists elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the first American sociologists to be elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The worst economic disaster America had ever seen. http://www.asanet.org/footnotes/mar03/indextwo.html. 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. Robert K. Merton’s most popular book is Social Theory and Social Structure. Brought on by Black Friday, on October 24th, 1929, when the stock market crashed. His work shaped the discipline for more than a half century. …proposed by the American sociologist Robert K. Merton, suggests that criminality results from an offender’s inability to attain his goals by socially acceptable means; faced with this inability, the individual is likely to turn to other—not necessarily socially or legally acceptable—objectives or to pursue the original objectives by unacceptable means.… And information from Encyclopaedia Britannica, when the stock market crashed in regards to the,... 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