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since he was Jewish, Merton was not the name he was born with•as a young man he became interested in the performing arts and used the name Robert K. Merton in his performances and decided to keep the name for his academic work
UNIVERSITY EDUCATION •in 1931 he graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia and studied sociology and during his last year he ended up attending a meeting of the American sociology association that he ended up meeting Pitirim Sorokin from the department of sociology atHarvard who was the founder of sociology and the senior prof •in 1931 he started graduate studies in sociology at Harvard under Sorokin who had impressed him, he wasn't the only one but while he was there he met a junior prof named Talcott Parsons •although he was influenced by Parsons he became quite critical of his former prof MARRIAGE AND FAMILY•while at Harvard he met a woman named Suzanne Carhart and got married in 1934 and had three children UNIVERSITY CAREER •after getting married he continued with his grad work and got his PHD in 1938 and became a prof at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana but wasn't there that long and did secure a different position as a prof in 1941 he became a prof at Columbia University in NYC and published “Social Theory and Social Structure” in 1949 and the importance is that it set out Merton's well known contributions to structural functionalist theory and was critical of earlier structural functionalism and tried to correct some of the problems that he saw in structural functionalist analysis •in 1979 he retired from Columbia UniversityLATER LIFE AND DEATH•in 1968 he divorced his wife after 34 years •remarried in his 80's to a sociologist named Harriet Zuckerman •died at age of 92 in 2003 THE THEORETICAL APPROACH •THEORETICAL APPROACH •middle-range theory: against the grand theory associated with Parsons and favoured what he called middle-range theory◦not at the macro level of analysis (entire society) or the micro level of analysis but at the middle-range theory but still closer to the macro level analysis (individual in society)◦addresses specific issues like theories of class dynamics, interpersonal influence, power relations, causes of suicide •theory and research: indicated that middle-range theory must be connected to empirical observations, have to work reciprocally ◦emphasized the importance of both induction and deduction induction: observations (research) => generalizations => theory ◦middle-range theories can begin by doing research then develop generalizations from thatdata and then put them together as a theory
THE FRANKFURT SCHOOL AND EARLY NEO-MARXISMINTRO ISSUES AND HISTORICAL OVERVIEWWhat is Neo-Marxian Theory?