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Concepts and the Social Order
Robert K. Merton and the Future of Sociology

Edited by
Yehuda Elkana is former President and Rector Emeritus of Central European University, and Senior Advisor to the Rector of the Institute of Advanced Study in Berlin.
Andr ás Szigeti is research fellow at Central European University, Budapest
György Lissauer is freelance researcher

Offers a comprehensive perspective on knowledge production in the field of sociology. Moreover, it is a tribute to the scope of Merton's work and the influence Merton has had on the work and life of sociologists around the world. This is reflected in each of the 12 chapters by internationally acclaimed scholars witnessing the range of fields Merton has contributed to as well as the personal impact he has had on sociologists. This approach is in itself a tribute to Merton: an analysis of knowledge production through a contextualized review of an author's life-work – a quintessentially “Mertonian” enterprise.

Among others, the chapters deal with history and social context—an exploration of sociology in three very different countries; the relationship between science and society; the role of experience and the conceptual word; the “Matthew effect” and “repetition with variation.” The contributors consider a number of Mertonian themes and concepts, re-evaluating them, adapting them, highlighting their continued relevance and thus opening a well of possibilities for new research.


List of Illustrations and Tables Book Concept and Preface Note to Sound and Sculpture Introduction 1. The Paradoxes of Robert K. Merton: Fragmentary Reflections 2. Looking for Shoulders to Stand on, or for a Paradigm for the Sociology of Science 3. R. K. Merton in France: Foucault, Bourdieu, Latour and the Invention of Mainstream Sociology in Paris 4. Merton in South Asia: The Question of Religion and the Modernity of Science 5. The Contribution of Rober K. Merton’s Key Concepts to the Analysis of Gender Differentiation in Society 6. A Tribute to Robert Merton: Protestant and Catholic Ethics Revisited 7. The Concept of Ambivalence in the Relationship between Science and Society 8. Re-evaluating the Place of Science in Evaluating Modernity 9. Democracy and the Normative Structure of Science After Modernity 10. The Matthew Effect Writ Large and Larger: A Study in Sociological Semantics 11. Repetition With Variation: A Mertonian Inquiry Into a Lost Mertonian Concept 12. Robert K. Merton and the Tansformation of Sociology of Knowledge and Possible New Directions Bibliography List of Contributors

Listen to 'Manisfest Functions' by Amos Elkana. Excerpt from the composer's website: "In 1974, when I was seven years old, I received a letter from America. On the envelope was written my name, preceded by the title "Master". This impressed me immensely; it was the first time that I was treated with such formal respect. The letter itself was even more impressing: It was beautifully typed in with a typing machine, the lines were all over the place, but in perfectly coherent order - from top to bottom, diagonal and backwards. It was a very funny letter and it also included a little ditty that I learned off by heart. The letter was signed: Uncle Bob. In connection with the work of my artist friend, Alexander Polzin, and since I did it as a child myself, I recorded 23 friends on their first attempt at reading this ditty. One to six of these recordings are randomly selected from the pool of 23 recordings and are played from six loudspeakers that are placed around the room creating the funny effect of several different voices 'breaking their teeth' while trying to read this ditty: A tutor who tooted the flute, Tried to tutor two tutors to toot. Said the two to the tutor, 'Is it harder to toot, or to tutor two tutors to toot?'"

Pub date in the UK: 5th November, 2011
250 pages with illustrations
ISBN 978-615-5053-41-2 cloth $50.00 / €45.00 / £40.00