Social Theory And Social Culture

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Social Theory and Social Culture



There are two tendencies in sociological enquiry which Merton finds improper and endeavors to criticize. One is basic or slim empiricism which stress solely on the assemblage of details and figures without any vigilance to a theory. The other is the abstract theorizing of scholars who are pledged in the trial to gather a total theoretical system covering all facets of social life (e.g. Parsons). Merton proposes sociological theories of the middle kind as a response to the two most distant positions. According to Merton, middle kind theory starts its theorizing with delimited facets of social phenomena other than with a very very broad, abstract entity for demonstration humanity or social system.

Middle kind theories may emerge to be alike to general, total theories in the sense that they more over enlist abstractions. However, distinct those in the general theories, the abstractions in theories of the middle kind are solidly endorsed up by discerned data. Middle kind theories have to be gathered with quotation to phenomena that are observable in alignment to evolve an array of theoretical adversities as well as to be incorporated in propositions that permit empirical ascertaining (39). The demonstrations of middle kind theories are a theory of quotation assemblies, of social mobility, of role-conflict, of the formation of social norms, etc. Merton's goal in proposing the concept of middle kind theory can be summarized by his affirmation that:

'Our foremost task today is to develop outstanding theories applicable to constrained conceptual diversity -- theories, for demonstration, of deviant behavior, the unanticipated punishments of purposive undertaking, social insight, quotation assemblies, social order, the interdependence of social associations -- other than to demand the total conceptual structure that is plentiful to draw from these and other theories of the middle range' (51).

'Sociological theory, if it is to accelerate substantially, should accelerate on these interconnected planes: by developing outstanding theories from which to draw from hypotheses that can be empirically investigated by evolving a progressively more general conceptual conceive that is plentiful to consolidate assemblies of outstanding theories'.

1. The Problem of an Overly Positive Interpretation The prevalent inclination amidst purposeful analysts to support only the positive aid of certain parts and practices to a social system is based on three rudimentary postulates which Merton is to criticize. These three postulates are:1. The postulate of purposeful harmony of humanity, or the assumption that in any social system, there inhabits a certain kind of harmony or solidarity which will 'benefit every lone member.' Thus, in enquiring certain parts or practices, such are customarily appreciated in quotations to this unity.Merton argues opposing to this assumption, saying that one will not presume 'full' integration of all societies since even a meager association can notify that distinct societies organise not have the equal kind and stage of integration. However, to set up a affirmation in relation to distinct kinds and a kind of requirements of integration, one has to rely mostly on empirical conclusion, not on intuition.

Finally Merton concludes that ...
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