Who is Robert K. Merton?June 26, 2021
Robert King Merton (July 4, 1910 to February 23, 2003) was an American sociologist.
Robert K. Merton was born in 1910 in the USA (Philadelphia) to an immigrant family from Eastern Europe.
Merton, who grew up in a very poor family, won a scholarship and studied at Temple University, and became a student of Parsons and Sorokin at Harvard University. He taught at Harvard and Tulane universities, transferred to Columbia University in 1941 and continued to teach there until his retirement in 1979.
Merton, who married twice, including his marriage to sociologist Harriet Zuckerman, had 1997 Nobel Prize in Economics winner Robert C. Merton and two daughters from his first marriage.
Robert Merton, a student of Parsons, is considered one of the most important theorists of structural functionalism. While Merton criticizes some aspects of structuralism, he also made important contributions to this approach. In addition to his contributions to structuralism, he is regarded as the founder of the sociology of science, which later became the field of sociology of knowledge. Merton died in New York in 2003.
Merton introduced the distinction between cultural structure and social structure. Cultural structure is an organized set of normative values that govern the common behavior of members of a particular society or group. Social structure is an organized set of social relations in which members of society or group engage in various ways. This structure also reveals that the concept of structure is a tool for understanding the reason for people’s behavior in their lives.
Robert King Merton, who spent a significant part of his career as an instructor at Columbia University and completed the title of professor, introduced terms such as self-fulfilling prophecy, role model and unintended consequences to the sociology literature. Merton was one of the first sociologists elected to the US National Academy of Sciences, and is also a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which awarded him the Parsons prize.
Merton’s Understanding of Functionalism
What is Sociology of Science?
Overt Function, Latent Function, and Net Balance
Anomie and Deviation
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım