Once expanded to the study of latent functions the

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Once expanded to the study of latent functions: the sociologist will examine familiar (or planned) social practices to determine the latent, unrecognized, functions and make distinctive intellectual contributions IMPACT OF MERTON’S THEORY
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IMPACT OF MERTON’S THEORY Findings concerning latent functions represent an increment in knowledge because they describe practices and beliefs in terms which are not common knowledge. They preclude the substitution of naïve moral judgments for thoughtful sociological analysis. Naïve moral judgments in society usually result from the manifest consequences of a social practice or code of behavior not critically examined.
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Analysis in terms of latent functions, then, often runs counter to the prevailing moral evaluations. Considered from the functional viewpoint: Persistent social patterns and social structures perform positive functions which, at the time, are not adequately fulfilled by other existing patterns and structures. Publicly criticized behaviors and organizations – often defined as deviant – are, under present conditions, very likely satisfying basic and important latent functions. IMPACT OF MERTON’S THEORY
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MERTON’S GENERAL PARADIGM OF SOCIOLOGICAL / STRUCTURAL AMBIVALENCE: STRUCTURALLY CREATED STRAIN “opposing normative tendencies in the social definition of a role or status”
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Individuals as Status-Occupants status-sets role-sets norm-clusters
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THE PARADIGM IN GENERAL: In its most extended form: Incompatible normative expectations of attitudes, beliefs, and behavior are assigned to a status or to a set of statuses. In its most restricted form: Incompatible normative expectations are incorporated within a single role of a single status.
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SPECIFIC CONFLICTS & CONTRADICTIONS Conflict among statuses within a status-set: a pattern of conflict of interests or of values within the status-set. Conflict between several roles associated with a particular status. Contradictions among general cultural values held by all members of society, i.e., not specific to a particular status.
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Conflict or disjunction between culturally prescribed aspirations and socially structured avenues for realizing these aspirations (the opportunity structure). Contradiction or conflict between cross-cultural statuses. Contradiction or conflict between reference group anchors or identifications . SPECIFIC CONFLICTS & CONTRADICTIONS
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ROLE-SET THEORY Begins with the concept that each social status involves not a single associated role, but an array of roles (a role-set). Example: A medical student plays not only the role of student vis-à-vis the correlative status of his teachers but also an array of other roles relating diversely to others in the system: other medical students, physicians, nurses, social workers, medical technicians, non- medical students, university administrative personnel, and the like.
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Role-Set theory raises the general problem of
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