This book reintroduces the work of Robert K. Merton as a bridge between classical sociology and modern sociology. Founded in the sociological classics but developing a modern approach to the advancement of theory and research methodology, Merton’s thought helped to construct modern sociology in its coverage of many of the social institutional areas of contemporary society. Recovering and analysing the system of ‘structural analysis’, which Merton progressively developed – a system largely overlooked due to the tendency among commentators to stereotype him as a ‘functionalist’ – the author considers the applications of this approach to various substantive fields, particularly science and criminal justice, and examines the effect of Merton’s later ‘sociological semantics’ on his overall schema. A clear and accessible presentation of the array of concepts introduced by Merton to sociology, Reintroducing Robert K. Merton will appeal to scholars and students with interests in sociological theory, social research, the history of sociology and the various substantive areas covered in the work of Merton – deviance, science, and communications.
Table of Contents
1. The Case for Reintroducing Merton 2. '1930s: The Harvard Years' (Jugendschriften) 3. Early Years at Columbia 4. Middle Years at Columbia 5. Later Years 6. Reprise: Merton as Discipline-builder, Theorist, Substantive Sociologist and Moralist 7. Merton the Man, His Operational Code and Influences
Charles Crothers is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. He has previously worked at the Town & Country Planning Division of the Ministry of Works, Wellington, Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Auckland, the University of Natal and as Senior Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg. He is the author of Sociologies of New Zealand, Social Structure and Robert K. Merton and was previously editor of NZ Population Review, Sociology in Transition, New Zealand Sociology and Kotuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online.
‘Charles Crothers’ new book is by far the best introduction to the work and life of Robert K. Merton. Merton’s role in modern sociology has been of enormous importance, not only for US sociology but also internationally. Crothers’ book is meticulously researched and written in an engaging manner. It should be on every social scientist’s bookshelf.’ - Richard Swedberg, Cornell University, USA
'Crothers offers what is perhaps the most compelling reason why Merton needs reintroduction: because his legacy, at once known and unknown, has been the victim of its own success … this book proves its value in providing us with another opportunity to stand on the shoulders of an intellectual giant.' - A. Javier Trevino, Social Forces