Robert Merton Manifest And Latent Theory

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Born into a Jewish family in 1910 in Philadelphia as Meyer R. Schkolnick, Merton later adopted the name Robert Merton from a combination of several famous magician names and grew up to be one of the most decorated sociologists that delved into the field of science. He was often influenced by other well-known sociologists including Marx and Weber and features of these other sociologists’ concepts can often be found in his work, as he often agreed or disagreed with these concepts, such as his teacher, Talcott Parson’s ‘grand Theory’. Merton’s work was often heavily associated and involved in the field of science, and he also developed the fields of bureaucracy, deviance and psychology through his extensive work.
An example of his work which involved science is his manifest and latent functions. In his book, ‘Social theory and social structure’, he discusses manifest and latent functions and analyses the functions of several areas, including that of Religion, where he analyses it and builds on the ideologies of his teacher, Parsons, as well as including some of the work done previously by Weber. Merton discusses his manifest and latent functions to distinguish between “conscious motivations for social behaviour and its objective consequences.” (Merton, R. 1949, Social Theory and Social Structure, page 24) However it is mentioned by Merton that it is only through the pursuit of latent functions that “the distinctive intellectual contributions of the sociologist” are found and

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