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It is one of the most frequently cited works in the social sciences as it is a collection of theories and insights within structural — functional paradigm. Merton studied under Talcott Parsons at Harvard and later became professor at Columbia.
In this work consisting of almost pages, the author develops a theory of deviant behavior linked to various types of social adaptations. Merton rejects the idea of grand theories for the discipline of sociology and introduces the notion of middle range theories falling between grand theories on one hand and narrow, empirical observation on the other.
Like Durkheim, he focuses on objective facts and attempts to delineate objective consequences that are observable from subjective dispositions. He distinguishes latent functions from manifest functions based on functional analysis.
While both manifest and latent functions have objective consequences for the social system, the former are intended or recognized, the latter are not. Evidently, of all theorists of social structure, Merton perhaps made the greatest impact on empirical research.
Part I deals with Theoretical Sociology, its history and systematics. Manifest and Latent Functions p.
Local and Cosmopolitan Influentials p. In the first part, Merton makes at least two important useful contributions in the field of sociology — the theories of the middle range and the manifest and latent functions.
He identifies two unacceptable trends within sociology that are narrow or radical empiricism focused just to collection of data without theorizing and abstract theorizing and consequently recommends sociological theories of the middle range as a solution.
The introduction of Manifest and Latent functions in chapter III is designed to improve functional analysis. Merton further discusses the relationship between theory and empirical research and their intimate links at length.
Merton cautions against confusing sociological theory with five scientific activities including methodology, general sociological orientations, concepts, interpretations and statements of uniformities and recommends that these activities need to be distinguished from one another. Merton analyzes sociological theory the function of which is to unify disparate empirical findings.
In the discussion of social goals and anomie in chapter 6, Merton identifies causes of dysfunctions one among which is the conflict between cultural goals and institutional norms.
Some of the other landmark contributions that Merton makes in this work include contributions to the theory of reference group behavior and the concept of relative deprivation and self fulfilling prophecy.
The concept of relative deprivation is related to the concept of reference group behavior in that the concept of relative deprivation is helpful in clarifying what according to Merton is counter intuitive, yet in the absence of a theory, according to Merton, concept alone cannot explain a phenomenon.
The theory of reference group therefore has greater explanatory value in understanding the notion of relative deprivation. In other words, it is a false definition of the situation attracting a response that makes the originally false conception real in outcome.
S society has come to share certain characteristics with the European societies where the discipline originally developed with the consequence that sociology of knowledge has moved from periphery to the center of attention. In Part IV of the book, Merton examines what he calls the norms of science, a set of basic values that govern scientific communities.
These values according to Merton are universalism, communism, disinterestedness and organized skepticism. Analysis of the Content: Thus, according to him both narrow empiricism and abstract theorizing as in Parsons must be replaced by middle range theories in sociological enquiry.
Merton explains the reasons for proposing middle range theories. Merton refers to these limited range theories as the middle range theories.
A major concern that seems to engage Merton in Part I is the review of chief modes of analysis in functional reasoning. So, Merton goes on to identify the major problems in functionalism theory and addressing the same.
Merton is not satisfied that functionalism invariably sees contributions of practices to cultural system. The second issue with functionalism that he raises is the tendency to confuse subjective category of motive with the objective category of function.
He addresses these two issues in functional analysis with the introduction of analytical concepts of multiple consequences and the manifest and latent functions.
Merton argues against certain functional assumptions that he identifies as three postulates, that is, the postulate of functional unity of society, the postulate of universal functionalism and the postulate of indispensability p. The introduction of manifest and latent functions that Merton introduces makes a distinct improvement in functional analysis.
The distinction between manifest and latent function, according to Merton is effective against confusion between conscious motivations for social behavior and its objective consequences.
While manifest functions are intentional and recognized, the latent functions are neither intended nor recognized. The unintended consequences can be functional, dysfunctional or non-functional.
According to Merton, sociological theory must be distinguished from methodology, general sociological orientations, analysis of sociological concepts, post factum sociological interpretations, and statements of uniformities. While methodology refers to the logic of scientific procedure, a set of related propositions characterize a theory.
Concepts alone do not constitute a theory but they must be interrelated in the form of a scheme. In other words, concepts are variables between which empirical relationships can be identified.How to Write a Comparative Analysis Throughout your academic career, you'll be asked to write papers in which you compare and contrast two things: two texts, two theories, two historical figures, two scientific processes, and so on.
The links below provide concise advice on some fundamental elements of academic writing. TOPIK Essay Writing Guide - Analysis of TOPIK Evaluation and Marking Scheme.
How TOPIK Essays are evaluated; what and how you are expected to write the essays. 5 Simple Steps You Should Do before Writing an Essay. Many students think that to write good essays, they just should avoid making grammar and spelling mistakes.
Guide to writing an essay. What is an essay? Essays at university need to respond to the question by developing an argument which . How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay. Compare and Contrast Essay. Calculate your price.
Type of paper. Essay. Academic level. Undergraduate. Deadline. 14 days. Pages. This article will take you through the steps on how to write a good compare and contrast essay.
The Structure of Good Compare and Contrast Essays.