The Relationship between Merton’s Sociology of Science and His General Sociology

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Charles CROTHERS, AUT University, New Zealand, Auckland University Technology, New Zealand
Merton saw sociology of science as his main sociological interest which had two quite distinct phases: the earlier comparative/historical work on external factors on the development of science institutions and their operation, and a later phase drilling down into more detailed operational details, alongside a Columbia University team. Work in both phases has been limited in its impact on sociology in general, since comparative history has side-lined his earlier work while the latter was overshadowed by the rise of the sociology of scientific knowledge. On the other hand, Merton’s work on deviance and structural analysis is central to ongoing sociological interests. This paper shows the links between Merton’s specialist sociology of science and his general sociology and argues for the continuing importance of both for the continued development of sociology.