Robert Merton: biography of the famous sociologist. Robert Merton's Contribution to Sociology
Robert Merton is a famous sociologist, educator andan international figure, one of the leading social analysts of the 20th century. He was able to brilliantly change the stereotypical views that scientists have long held, that eccentric geniuses are not bound by rules and norms. It was this amount of work that served as the basis for the receipt in 1994 of the National Medal for Scientific Achievements.
Merton received many awards for hisresearch. He was the first sociologist who became an honorary member of the National Academy of Sciences and a foreign representative in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and published many scientific works on sociological theory and mass communications.
Over 70 years he read to his studentsexcellent lectures on history, literature and etymology, as well as on sociological topics: media work, anatomy of racism, social perspectives, outsiders against insiders.
Let's learn more about this great man.
Robert Merton: Biography
Born in Philadelphia on July 4, 1910 in a family of Jewish immigrants. His father was a professor of sociology at Columbia University, and his mother devoted all her energies to raising children.
Educated at South Philadelphia High School. In the youth he was a frequent visitor at the Andrew Carnegie Library, at the Music Academy, at the Museum of Arts and other cultural and educational centers.
At the age of 14, he changed his name to Merlin, in honor of one of the most mysterious characters in the legends of King Arthur. But his friends told him that it was too "magical", and he replaced him with Merton.
His sociological career began under thethe leadership of George Simpson of Temple College and Pitirim Sorokin of Harvard University, who was engaged in empirical and statistical research.
In 1936, Robert King Merton received his doctoratedegree at Harvard University. In 1939 he became a professor and head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Toulon, and in 1941 joined the Columbia University. In 1963 he received a high title - a professor at the University.
In the period from 1942 to 1971 he served as deputy director of the Bureau of the University of Applied Social Research. He was also a lecturer at Rockefeller University. In 1985, in recognition of his invaluable contribution to science and for long-term and productive work at Columbia University, he was awarded the title of Doctor of Sciences.
Robert Merton was twice married. From his first marriage he had two sons and two daughters. His son Robert S. Merton in 1997 won the Nobel Prize in Economics.
Robert Merton died on February 23, 2003.
Prizes and awards
During his scientific career, Merton held several important positions:
- Deputy Director of the Bureau of Applied Social Studies at Columbia University (1942-1971 gg.);
- Trustee of the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Science at Stanford University (1952-1975);
- President of the American Sociological Association (1957).
Robert Merton also received several high awards:
- a prestigious scholarship from the American Council of Scientific Societies (1962);
- Commonwealth Award for outstanding services in sociology (1970);
- Makaratur-premium in graduate school (1980);
- the "Who's Who in America" award for high achievements in the field of social science (1984);
- In 1985, Columbia University awarded him the title of Doctor of Sciences.
Robert Merton: Contribution to Sociology
In the scientific work of Merton mainlyfocused on the development of "medium-range theory". In it, he urged scientists to avoid the great speculative and abstract doctrines, as well as pedantic inquiries that are unlikely to lead to productive results.
While still a graduate student at Harvard (1936)), in his article "Social structures and anomies" he wrote about the ranges of deviant behavior and crime. Most of Merton's continuing "sociological concern" went to the study of problems of social regulation and deviation.
The theories of Robert Merton confirm the facts: people often assess their social opportunities and limitations bias; the unshakable advantage of individuals in any social positions (the "Matthew effect") that dissipate alignment attempts. He demonstrated the fragility of such normal forms of social regulation as formal leadership, dominant cultural values and professional standards.
"Norms of Science" and other concepts
Robert King Merton proposed special "norms of science" as a set of ideals to which scientists should strive:
- communalism - the science of an open society;
- universalism - the science of "not discriminate";
- unselfishness - the science of external objectivity;
- organized skepticism - the science of verifying all ideas and theories.
He also introduced many concepts into the sociologicalarea, among them such concepts as "to call disaster", "unintended consequences", and the term "overgrowth by inclusion" - when the theory becomes so popularized that its founder forgets the essence of this theory. He introduced the concept of "multiple" to describe independent similar discoveries in science.
In the early 60-ies Merton plunged into the studythe main cultural and organizational factors in the work of scientists. It included a thorough analysis of the career of Nobel laureates, competition processes, the relationship between publications and scientific research and the problematic nature of discovery and acceptance in the "kingdom" of science.
Sociologist Robert Merton demonstrated hisintellectual flexibility in studying questions about theoretical formulations, useful typologies and classifications, empirical research, and the practical consequences of sociological work in modern society.
Major scientific works in the early periodMerton's life: "Science, technology and society in the seventeenth century in England" (1938), "Social theory and social structure" (several publications were published from 1949 to 1968).
Later he published such works: "The Student Physician" (1957), "Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Research" (1973), "Sociological Ambivalence and Other Abstracts" (1976), "Social Studies and Practicing Professions" (1982) .
Some influential works are contained in the collection of essays edited by Cozer (they were published in honor of Robert's 65th birthday): "The idea of a social structure: articles in honor of Merton" (1975).
In the end, we can say that Robert Merton isa great man, a pioneer in the field of modern political and sociological research. He is rightfully considered one of the most influential social scientists in America. He became the first sociologist who received many awards and prizes for his research. Throughout his career, more than 20 universities (including Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Chicago) awarded Merton honorary titles. And his scientific works are still in great demand among scientists and students.