Merton, Robert K.

Merton, Robert K.

▪ American sociologist
in full  Robert King Merton , original name  Meyer Robert Schkolnick  
born July 4, 1910, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
died February 23, 2003, New York, New York

      American sociologist whose diverse interests included the sociology of science and the professions, sociological theory, and mass communication.

      After receiving a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1936, Merton joined the school's faculty. In his first work in the sociology of science, Science, Technology and Society in Seventeenth Century England (1938), he studied the relationship between Puritan thought and the rise of science. He next served on the faculty of Tulane University (1939–41) and then accepted an appointment at Columbia University (1941), where he became a full professor in 1947 and was named Giddings Professor of Sociology in 1963. He served as associate director of the university's Bureau of Applied Social Research (1942–71), which had opened under the direction of Paul Lazarsfeld (Lazarsfeld, Paul Felix) one year before Merton's arrival. The two men's work was complementary: Lazarsfeld combined quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, along with his logic of concept clarification, and thereby influenced Merton's orientation to historical studies. Moreover, Merton's gift for theory influenced Lazarsfeld's philosophical grasp of sociology. Their academic collaboration, from 1941 to 1976, strengthened the standards of training for the social sciences (social science).

      In Social Theory and Social Structure (1949; rev. ed. 1968), Merton developed a theory of deviant behaviour based on different types of social adaptation. He defined the interrelationship between social theory and empirical research, advancing a structural-functional approach to the study of society and creating the concepts of manifest and latent function and dysfunction. Other works by Merton include Mass Persuasion (1946), On the Shoulders of Giants (1965), On Theoretical Sociology (1967), Social Theory and Functional Analysis (1969), The Sociology of Science (1973), and Social Ambivalence and Other Essays (1976). He edited Qualitative and Quantitative Social Research (1979), containing papers in honour of Paul Lazarsfeld, and Sociological Traditions from Generation to Generation (1980).

      Much of Merton's work found its way into the mainstream. While at the Bureau of Applied Social Research, he began using focused interviews with groups to obtain reactions to such things as films and written materials. This technique gave rise to focus groups, which have become critical tools for marketers and politicians. Merton also coined colloquial terms such as “self-fulfilling prophecy” and “role models,” and he wrote at length on the concept of serendipity. In 1994 Merton became the first sociologist to receive a National Medal of Science. His son, economist Robert C. Merton (Merton, Robert C.), won a Nobel Prize in 1997.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • MERTON, ROBERT C. — MERTON, ROBERT C. (1944– ), U.S. economist and educator; co recipient of the 1997 Nobel Memorial Prize for economics. A New York City native, raised in Hastings on Hudson, N.Y., Merton was the middle child of renowned sociologist robert k. merton …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Merton, Robert C. — ▪ American economist born July 31, 1944, New York, N.Y., U.S.       American economist known for his work on finance theory and risk management; he is noted especially for his contribution to assessing the value of stock options (stock option)… …   Universalium

  • Merton, Robert K. — ► (1910 2003) Sociólogo estadounidense. Es el principal representante, junto a T. Parsons, del funcionalismo. Autor de Teoría y estructura sociales (1957) y Sobre estructura social y ciencia (1996) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • MERTON, ROBERT KING — (Meyer Schkolnick; 1910–2003), U.S. sociologist. Born in Philadelphia, Merton received his B.A. from Temple University in 1931 and his M.A. (1932) and Ph.D. (1936) from Harvard. A student of George R. Simpson, Pitirim Sorokin, and Talcott Parsons …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Merton, Robert King — ▪ 2004 Meyer R. Schkolnick        American sociologist (b. July 4, 1910, Philadelphia, Pa. d. Feb. 23, 2003, New York, N.Y.), made wide ranging contributions to the field, especially the sociology of science; he coined such expressions as “self… …   Universalium

  • Merton, Robert K(ing) — orig. Meyer R. Schkolnick born July 4, 1910, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S. died Feb. 23, 2003, New York, N.Y. U.S. sociologist. After receiving a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1936, Merton taught there and at Tulane University before moving to… …   Universalium

  • Merton,Robert King — Mer·ton (mûrʹtn), Robert King. Born 1910. American sociologist who proposed that deviant behavior results when a society offers no acceptable means of achieving acceptable goals. * * * …   Universalium

  • Merton, Robert K(ing) — orig. Meyer R. Schkolnick (4 jul. 1910, Filadelfia, Pa., EE.UU.–23 feb. 2003, Nueva York, N.Y.). Sociólogo estadounidense. Después de obtener su Ph.D. en la Universidad de Harvard en 1936, fue docente en ese lugar y en la Universidad de Tulane… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Robert King Merton — (* 5. Juli 1910 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania als Meyer Robert Schkolnick; † 23. Februar 2003 in New York) war ein US amerikanischer Soziologe. Merton ist Vater von Robert C. Merton, dem Wirtschafts Nobelpreisträger von 1997. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Robert C. Merton — Robert Carhart Merton Robert Carhart Merton (* 31. Juli 1944 in New York) erhielt 1997 gemeinsam mit Myron S. Scholes den Preis für Wirtschaftswissenschaften der schwedischen Reichsbank in Gedenken an Alfred Nobel. In der Begründung hieß es: „Für …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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