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The Anthem Companion to Robert K. Merton
  • Publisher: Anthem Press
  • Online publication date: January 2023
  • Print publication year: 2022
  • Online ISBN: 9781839981173
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Book description

RKM's sociological work spans several decades: '20s (i.e., childhood), '30s (anomie, science, unanticipated), '40s (housing studies, mass communications, structural-functional analysis, professions, focus groups), '50s (reference groups), '60s (ambivalence), later-decades (structural analysis, Sociological semantics, cultural sociology). He particularly contributed to sociology during a period when several specialties were being set-up and yet his work spans both general and specialist sociologies. He is recognised as the father of: anomie/strain theory; focus groups; sociology of science; role-set theory; analytical sociology; structural-functional analysis; ambivalence studies; and sociological semantics, but always endeavoured to keep the multifarious threads of sociology together.

RKM stood at the junction of many other crossroads: classical and modern sociology; US and European sociology; theory and research; philosophy of social science and applied sociology; pure academic sociology and applied sociology; cognitive and social; social sciences and humanities; social sciences and science. Yet the different components of RKM's work and how each relates to the other. RKM had a major effect on the baby boomer generation of sociology who joined the ranks of sociology at a time of great expansion of university positions across many developed countries. Other generations since have been less exposed to his work.

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