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Robert K. Merton (1910 – 2003)


Distinguished American sociologist perhaps best known for having coined the phrase "self-fulfilling prophecy.
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Robert K. Merton
It is likely that the emphasis upon the metaphysical and epistemological implications of the sociology of knowledge can be traced, in part, to the fact that the first proponents of this discipline stemmed largely from philosophical rather than scientific circles. The burden of further research is to turn from this welter of conflicting opinion to empirical investigations which may establish in adequate detail the uniformities pertaining to the appearance, acceptance and diffusion, or rejection and repression, development and consequences of knowledge and ideas.
Merton quotes
Bob Merton became the leader of structural-functional analysis in sociology, and the leader of those sociologists who attempted to create social theories that could be empirically tested... 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... For me, he was a model teacher and mentor, a trusted colleague, and a close friend. His death, in many ways, puts a period at the end of 20th Century sociology,
Merton
The role of outstanding scientists in influencing younger associates is repeatedly emphasized in the interviews with laureates. Almost invariably they lay great emphasis on the importance of problem-finding, not only problem-solving. They uniformly express the strong conviction that what matters most in their work is a developing sense of taste, of judgment, in acting setting upon problems that are of fundamental importance. And, typically, they report that they acquired this sense for the significant problem during their years of training in evocative environments. Reflecting on his years as a novice in the laboratory of a chemist of the first rank, one laureate reports that he "led me to look for important things, whenever possible, rather than work on endless detail or to work just to improve accuracy rather than making a basic new contribution."




Merton Robert K. quotes
[Merton states that anomie represents] An acute disjunction between the cultural norms and goals and the socially structured capacities of members of the group to act in accord with them.
Merton Robert K.
So much of what he says is so absolutely obvious, so transparently true, that one can't imagine why no one else has bothered to point it out.
Robert K. Merton quotes
The ethos of science involves the functionally necessary demand that theories or generalizations be evaluated in [terms of] their logical consistency and consonance with facts.
Robert K. Merton
Scientific research is not conducted in a social vacuum.
Merton Robert K. quotes
The last two decades have witnessed, especially in Germany and France, the rise of a new discipline, the sociology of knowledge (Wissenssoziologie), with a rapidly increasing number of students and a growing literature (even a “selected bibliography” would include several hundred titles). Since most of the investigations in this field have been concerned with the socio-cultural factors influencing the development of beliefs and opinion rather than of positive knowledge, the term. “Wissen” must be interpreted very broadly indeed, as referring to social ideas and thought generally, and not to the physical sciences, except where expressly indicated.
Merton
By social structure is meant that organized set of social relationships in which members of the society or group are variously implicated.
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