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On Social Structure and Science

Edited and with an Introduction by Piotr Sztompka
Robert K. Merton is unarguably one of the most influential sociologists of his time. A figure whose wide-ranging theoretical and methodological contributions have become fundamental to the field, Merton is best known for introducing such concepts and procedures as unanticipated consequences, self-fulfilling prophecies, focused group interviews, middle-range theory, opportunity structure, and analytic paradigms.

This definitive compilation encompasses the breadth and brilliance of his works, from the earliest to the most recent. Merton’s foundational writings on social structure and process, on the sociology of science and knowledge, and on the discipline and trajectory of sociology itself are all powerfully represented, as are his autobiographical insights in a fascinating coda. Anchored by Piotr Sztompka’s contextualizing introduction, Merton’s vast oeuvre emerges as a dynamic and profoundly coherent system of thought, a constant source of vitality and renewal for present and future sociology.

Table of Contents

1: The Uses and Abuses of Classical Theory
2: Theoretical Pluralism
3: On Sociological Theories of the Middle Range
4: Specified Ignorance
5: Paradigms: The Codification of Sociological Theory
6: Paradigm for Functional Analysis in Sociology
7: Manifest and Latent Functions
8: Social Dysfunctions
9: Paradigm for Structural Analysis in Sociology
10: The Role-Set
11: Sociological Ambivalence
12: Social Structure and Anomie
13: Opportunity Structure
14: Socially Expected Durations
15: The Unanticipated Consequences of Social Action
16: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
17: Paradigm for the Sociology of Knowledge
18: The Rise of Modern Science
19: Insiders and Outsiders
20: The Ethos of Science
21: Science and the Social Order
22: The Reward System of Science
23: Multiple Discoveries in Science
24: The Matthew Effect, II
Coda: A Life of Learning
Publications by and about Robert K. Merton: A Select Bibliography
Name Index
Subject Index

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