Contributions Of Robert Merton

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Sociology is “the scientific study of human life, social groups, whole societies and the human world as such” (Giddens 2009). Robert K. Merton (1910-2003) was an American sociologist who contributed greatly to the sociology we study today. He is best known for his theories of deviance, for his development of the concepts "self-fulfilling prophecy", “unintended consequences”, “role strain”, “reference group” ,"role model” and for founding the sociology of science. He is considered to have been one of America 's most influential social scientists. Robert Merton was born into a working class Eastern European Jewish immigrant family in Philadelphia as Meyer R. Schkolnick. He changed his own name at the age of 14 to Robert Merton, an outcome of a career as an amateur magician in his teen years. As a student he attended Temple College and Harvard, he studied sociology at both and in 1936 he earned his doctorate degree. From then on he started to contribute to the world of sociology by teaching in Harvard until 1938 when he became a professor and chairman of the Department of Sociology at Tulane University. He then moved on and joined the Columbia University faculty in 1941 where he worked alongside Paul F. Lazarsfeld for 35 years and where he created the “focus group research method” that politicians and businesses now use every day and where later in his life he became University Professor (the University 's highest academic rank) in 1974. Merton retired from the University
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