Biography Of Robert Merton 's Theory And Methodology

768 Words Oct 6th, 2014 4 Pages
Biography Robert Merton was an American sociologist born in 1910. He attended Temple University then completed graduate work at Harvard. He worked with Talcott Parsons at Harvard. Merton and Paul Lazarsfeld became prominent academics in the Sociology department at Columbia University and geared their work towards empirical research. He continued his work at Columbia University and died in 2003 (Calhoun et. al 2007: 402).
Theory and Methodology
Merton was a functional theorist that focused on “middle range” events or circumstances in society. His research and theories focused on societal occurrences that were not overly specific or abstract. Merton also distinguished between the functions of actions and beliefs in part to address the criticisms of early organic functional theories. He theorized different functions meant that not all actions and beliefs were directly meant to serve or meet a functional end in the group or institution. Merton explored and theorized the effects structures and institutions have on individuals and their means to attain things valued by their groups and institutions (Calhoun et. al 2007: 404-405).
Terms and Themes
The important terms of Manifest and Latent Functions are of course manifest functions and latent functions. Manifest functions are the intended functions or societally expected functions that actions are meant to meet. Latent functions are the unintentional or less acknowledged functions that actions meet. Latent…

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