Quotes from book
Social Theory and Social Structure

Social Theory and Social Structure was a landmark publication in sociology by Robert K. Merton. It has been translated into close to 20 languages and is one of the most frequently cited texts in social sciences. It was first published in 1949, although revised editions of 1957 and 1968 are often cited. In 1998 the International Sociological Association listed this work as the third most important sociological book of the 20th century.The book introduced many important concepts in sociology, like: manifest and latent functions and dysfunctions, obliteration by incorporation, reference groups, self-fulfilling prophecy, middle-range theory and others.


Robert K. Merton photo

„No man knows fully what has shaped his own thinking“

—  Robert K. Merton, book Social Theory and Social Structure

Source: Social Theory and Social Structure (1949), p. ix (1957 edition)

Robert K. Merton photo

„The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come "true".“

—  Robert K. Merton, book Social Theory and Social Structure

Source: Social Theory and Social Structure (1949), p. 477 (1968 Enlarged edition)
Context: The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come "true". This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.

Robert K. Merton photo
Robert K. Merton photo

„[Merton states that anomie represents] An acute disjunction between the cultural norms and goals and the socially structured capacities of members of the group to act in accord with them.“

—  Robert K. Merton, book Social Theory and Social Structure

Source: Social Theory and Social Structure (1949), p. 162 (1957 edition) as cited in: John H. Scanzoni (1970) Opportunity and the family. p. 55

Robert K. Merton photo

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