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Sociology and the Unintended

Robert Merton Revisited


Edited By Adriana Mica, Arkadiusz Peisert and Jan Winczorek

This collection of essays aims to revive the sociological debate on the unintended, unanticipated and unexpected consequences of social action, as started by Robert K. Merton in a classic study of 1936. The contributing authors provide insights on both Merton’s work and the reception it received in the academia. They also go beyond his original formulations to encompass new theoretical perspectives and empirical interests that have emerged in the intellectual circumstances different from, or opposed to, his functionalist theory. The contributing authors delve into fields as diverse as education, law, politics, financial markets, consumption, risks and accidents, systemic transformation, organizations and institutional work, innovations, and Polish studies.


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Klaus Bachmann is a historian and a political scientist, the holder of the Chair of In- ternational Politics at the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities. His re- search focuses on transitional justice, European integration, decision making, and pub- lic opinion in non-pluralist societies. He has been a visiting scholar at many universi- ties worldwide. He is the author of Vergeltung, Strafe, Amnesty. Eine vergleichende Studie zu Kollaboration und ihrer Aufarbeitung in Belgien, Polen und den Niederlan- den (2011) and Repression, Protest, Toleranz. Wertewandel und Vergangenheitsbe- wältigung in Polen nach 1956 (2010). Klaus Birkelbach is interim Professor for Education and Social Inequality at the Uni- versity Duisburg-Essen. His current research interests include sociology of education, life-course research, social stratification, sociology of religion, and logic and method- ology of the social sciences. He has recently published Komparative empirische Sozialforschung (co-edited with T. Beckers, J. Hagenah, and U. Rosar, 2010). Raymond Boudon is Emeritus Professor at the Sorbonne. He has been elected as a member of the Institut de France, the Academia Europaea, the British Academy, the Royal Society of Canada, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among other publications, he is the author of Education, Opportunity and Social Inequality (1973), The Critical Dictionary of Sociology (with F. Bourricaud, 1989), The Analysis of Ideology (1989), The Art of Self-persuasion (1994), The Origin of Values (2001), The Poverty of Relativism (2004), and Tocqueville for Today (2006). Colin Campbell is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of York. He...

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