SIGMUND FREUD'The Libido's Attachment to Objects'TS 729-733
Libido is the means by which the sexual instinct achieves expression. According to Freud, human sexual life, or the 'libido function' goes through a series of successive phases before it is mature (when the body is ready to reproduce). Before this point, sexual life is composed of independent activities which seek 'organ pleasure' (729).
the theory of libido and narcissism:
Sexual instincts are more closely connected to the psychic condition of anxiety than the ego (self-preservative) instincts are(730). Narcissism is a psychic condition that occurs when the libido (typically attached to certain objects in order to gain some satisfaction from them) abandons its objects and sets the ego in their place (self love). Under normal conditions, the ego-libido can transform itself into object libido without difficulty and can subsequently be reabsorbed into the ego (731).
Freud calls Narcissism the 'libidinal complement of egoism.' Egoism represents the non-sexual interests of the person concerned, whereas Narcissism involves the satisfaction of libidinal needs. When the ego completely gives itself over to a sexual object it gives its narcissism to the object as well as its altruism (the antithesis of egoism) (731).
To provide a partial explanation for the causes of narcissistic neuroses such as dementia praecox (schizophrenia), Freud claims that the object libido should be able to transform itself into the ego libido. However, libido remains libido and is never transformed into egoistic interests.
The withdrawal of object libido into the ego occurs every night before sleep and reverses its path upon a person's awakening. yet wen the libido becomes narcissistic and can no longer find its way back to its objects, this condition is pathogenic. overaccumulation of narcissistic libido is intolerable (732).
The symptoms of schizophrenia do not appear to be exclusively determine by the forcing of the libido and the overaccumulation of it as narcissism in the ego. Other Symptoms may be traced back to the efforts of the libido to reach its objects again (733).
SIGMUND FREUD 'The Ego and the Superego.'TS 733--739
Freud begins this essay by listing some characteristics of the ego with regard to the id. he states that the ego uses borrowed forces to control the id and that the ego constantly carries out the wished of the id as though they were its own.
The ego is closely connected to the consciousness, as evidenced by the intellectual operations it carries out in the preconscious, and by mental self criticism in the unconscious (unconscious guilt). The lowest (basest/corporal) and highest aspects of the ego can be found in the unconscious. However, typically corporal sensations are connected to the body ego. There is a higher level built into the ego -- the 'ego ideal' or the superego. The superego is less closely connected with consciousness than the rest of the ego.
Melancholia occurs when an object which was lost has been reinstated in the ego. For instance, when a person has to give up a sexual object, a change in his ego takes place which reinstates the object within the ego. This way, the ego makes it possible for the id to give the object up.
Hence, the ego's character is a residue ('precipitate') of abandoned object cathexes (cathexes are objects on which the ego concentrated its psychic energy at one time). The ego contains a 'record of past choices' which show up in one's character.
Through the transformation of an erotic object choice into the modification of the ego, the ego can obtain control over the id and deepen its relations with it. Sometimes, the ego forces itself upon the id as a love object. This transformation of object-libido into narcissistic libido implies an abandonment of external sexual aims.
the Oedipus Complex
When a boy is very young, he develops an object cathexis of his mother and as his feelings become more and more intense for her, he starts to regard his father as an obstacle. he wants to get rid of the father and develops an ambivalent relationship with him.
The Oedipus Complex dissolves as the boy grows older. he must give up his object Cathexis with his mother. In order to retain some affection toward his mother, he starts to identify with his father. (by the way, this whole situation is analogous for the girl -- just switch the sexes in the explanation.) Bisexuality can result if the child retains some affection for the parent of the same sex. The relative intensity of the identification either with the mother or the father in any individual will affect the preponderance in him toward homosexuality or heterosexuality.
The modification of the ego that takes place in the child during the dissolution of the Oedipus complex effects the formation of the superego. The superego has the task of repressing the Oedipus complex for the rest of the child's life. [Freud claims that the male sex has taken the lead in developing these 'moral acquisitions' (mastering the O. Complex) and that they have been transmitted to women through 'cross inheritance' (738).] The superego dominates over the ego in the form of conscience, and it is representative of the child's relationship to his parents. It is also the expression of the most powerful impulses expressed by the libido in the id. By setting up the super ego, the ego masters its O. Complex and at the same time places itself in subjection to the id.
The ego represents reality and the external world; the superego represents the id and a person's internal world. Hence, no external vicissitudes can be experienced by the id except by way of the ego. These experiences, when repeated often, transform themselves into experiences of the id and are preserved through genetic inheritance.
SIGMUND FREUD 'Anxiety as Motivation.'TS 799-808
How anxiety arises in the human psyche:
First of all, the ego fears its super ego: 'The hostility of the superego is the danger situation which the ego must avoid' (799). The punishment meted out by the superego on the ego is an extension of the punishment of castration. The superego is the father impersonalized, and the dread of the father's threat of castration is converted to social anxiety or dread of conscience. To avoid such punishment, the ego obediently carries out the demands of the superego. if it is prevented from doing this, a distress results which is the equivalent of anxiety.
Freud also discusses a newer conception of anxiety. through regularly repeated losses of objects, the ego has been prepared for castration -- hence, anxiety becomes the reaction to a loss or separation. (the first anxiety experience is separation from / castration of the mother) (800).
Anxiety is something felt -- it is an affective state. It has three components:
1: a 'specific unpleasurable quality'
2: 'efferent or discharge phenomena' (Physical symptoms of nervousness)
3: the perception of these (800).
An increase of excitation underlies anxiety, which discharges itself, thus creating the 'unpleasure element in anxiety.
Freud likens anxiety in humans to the birth process. The newborn will repeat the affect of anxiety in every situation which reminds him of birth (802). Nonetheless, Freud admits that the earliest phobias of childhood do not trace back to the birth experience, and at this time he cannot explain them.
The ego fears the superego's anger, punishment, and confiscation of its love. It responds to this fear with anxiety. Hence, the ego is the real seat of anxiety and is not expressed in the superego. The id cannot experience anxiety either, because it 'is not an organization and cannot estimate situations of danger' (804). Yet, processes are frequently initiated in the id which give the ego reason to develop anxiety. The earliest repressions are motivated by the ego's fear of two processes in the id. The first is when something happens in the is which activates on of the danger situations to which the ego is sensitive, and the second is when a situation analogous to the birth trauma develops in the id (804).
In addition to these cases, anxiety develops as a discharge from an excess of unutilized libido (804). For women, the loss of love is a determinant of anxiety which contributes to the typically feminine condition of hysteria. for men, the threat of castration and the dread of the superego can be determinants of anxiety which lead to compulsion neurosis.
Supplementary remarks on anxiety
anxiety is undeniably related to the expectation of danger
anxiety is related to neurosis
*true anxiety is related to a known danger which threatens from some external object
*neurotic anxiety is in regard to a danger which we do not know
*it stems from an instinctual demand
*it is the internal repetition of the expectation of a trauma
The relationship between grief, anxiety, and mourning
*? When does separation from the object give rise to anxiety, to mourning, and to grief?
The initial cause of anxiety, introduced by the ego, is the loss of perception of the object which becomes equated with the loss of the object. Whereas anxiety is the reaction to the danger which the object loss entails, grief is the reaction to actual object loss (807).
* How the concept of psychic (inward/emotional ) pain has come to be equated with physical pain when an object is lost:
When we feel physical pain in a hurting body organ, we put a cathexis on the psychic representation of that body part. (ie, we concentrate on it and it seems to have a role and image of its own in our bodies). In the case of psychic pain due to object loss, the idea of the object (which is highly cathected) plays the role of the hurting body part. this equates psychic pain to physical pain. the continuous character of the cathectic process brings about the same state of psychic helplessness as in anxiety, but it is expressed in the form of pain (808).
The task of mourning is to carry out the retreat from the object (now gone) which was under cathexis. The painful character of this separation accords with the explanation given in the preceding paragraph. That is, the pain experienced during mourning is brought about by the unattainable, 'longingful' cathexis of the object (808).
SIGMUND FREUD ' Mechanisms of Defense.'TS 809-818
Repression is a preliminary stage of condemnation. It is actually located between flight from an object and condemnation of that object (808). Its essence lies in turning something away and keeping it at a distance from the conscious (809).
The first phase of repression is 'primal repression,' which consists in the psychical or ideational representative of an instinct being denied entrance into the conscious. With this first phase a fixation is established where the representative persists unaltered and the instinct remains attached to it (809).
The second phase, 'repression proper,' affects mental derivatives of the repressed representative or other trains of thought which have connections to the repressed representative.
Although repression hinders the instinctual representative's *entrance into the conscious, it does not hinder its existence in the unconscious. In the unconscious, the representative 'establishes itself further,' (809) puts out more mental derivatives, and establishes more connections (809). In fact, it develops more profusely if it is removed from the conscious.
Repression does not withhold all the derivatives of what was primally repressed from the conscience. if these derivatives have become sufficiently removed from the repressed representatives (through distortion and the adoption of intermediate links), the have free access to the conscious (809).
Characteristics of repression
First, repression acts in a highly individual manner. Each single derivative of the repressed representative has its own effect.
Second, repression is mobile. the repressed exercises a constant pressure in the direction of the conscious which must be balanced by an unceasing counter-pressure. thus, the maintenance of repression requires a consistent expenditure of force. In addition, the mobility of repression finds expression in dreams (810).
Though Freud admits that he understands little about the mechanism of repression, he makes the following assertions:
1: the mechanism of repression does not coincide with the mechanism of forming substitutes
2: the various mechanisms of repression have at least one thing in common: a withdrawal of the cathexis of energy (or of libido, in the case of sexual instincts) (812).
How the ego, superego, and id relate in the process of repression
Repression occurs in the ego when the ego (possibly at the behest of the superego) refuses to associate with the instinctual cathexis which has been aroused in the id. The ego, through the process of repression, is able to keep the reprehensible impulse from becoming conscious (812). Thus, as a result of repression the intended cause of the excitatory process in the id does not occur.
*instinctual representative: an idea or group of ideas which is cathected with a definite quota of psychical energy (libido or self interest) coming from an instinct (811)
Freud analyzes displacement in the context of dreams and describes 'dream displacement' in the following manner: 'in the course of the dream work the psychical intensity passes over from the thoughts and ideas to which it properly belongs onto others which in our judgment have no claim to any such emphasis' (815). hence, dream content becomes unrecognizable. The more confused a dream appears to be, the more the process of displacement has had a hand in its construction. Freud claims that dream content can typically be traced to events which occurred the day immediately preceding the dream (the 'dream day.')
In addition to displacement, condensation can also occur. In condensation, two ideas in the dream thoughts which have something in common are replaced in the dream by a composite idea.
If displacement takes place in addition to condensation, an 'intermediate common entity' is constructed. This intermediate entity is a compromise between the two ideas and not a composite of them.
Projection is a symptom of paranoia which can show up in homosexual fantasy. for instance, a man will claim he hates another man even though he loves him. He projects onto the other man an image of persecution as a reason for his hatred:
' I do not love him -- I hate him because he persecutes me.'
Another example occurs in erotomania. A man claims:
'I do not love him -- I love her.'
In the same need for projection, this proposition is transformed into:
'I do not love him -- I love her, because she loves me.'
The third example occurs in delusions of alcoholic jealousy. Freud sets up a scenario where a man is angry at his female companion so he goes drinking with his male friends. he finds comfort in their company. In his unconscious, these men become objects of his libidinal cathexis. He will ward off these feelings with the following contradiction:
'It is not I who loves the man -- she (female companion) loves him.'
Delusions of jealousy in women are exactly analogous:
'It is not I who loves the women -- he loves them.' (817)
The fourth exempla of paranoic projection is megalomania:
'I do not love at all -- I do not love anyone.'
This becomes transformed into 'I love only myself ,' or asexual overestimation of the ego.
SIGMUND FREUD'Internal Sources of Behavioral Instability and Their Control'TS 940-944
In this essay, Freud bases most of the discussion on his concept of guilt. He states that the normal conscious sense of guilt is due to tension between the ego and the superego and is the expression of the condemnation of the ego. guilt is present to high degree in two mental illnesses: obsessional neurosis and melancholia (942).
In obsessional neurosis the patient's ego rebels against the imputation of guilt and the impulses which are being criticized by the superego never form part of the ego. In melancholia, the ego admits the guilt and submits to punishment by the superego.. The object of the superego's wrath becomes part of the ego through identification (942).
In hysteria (a third mental disorder),the mechanism by which the sense of guilt is kept unconscious is as follows: the hysterical ego defends itself from the painful perception of the criticism of the super ego through repressive means. thus, the ego is responsible for the sense of guilt which remains in the unconscious.
Guilt remains in large part in the unconscious. In many criminals, especially youthful ones, their unconscious guilt plays a role in the crimes they commit (942).
In all of the above situations, the super ego displays its independence of the conscious ego and its closeness to the unconscious id (942).
How does the superego simultaneously manifest itself as a sense of guilt and develop such severity toward the ego?
In melancholia, the excessively strong super ego which has obtained a hold in the consciousness 'rages' against the ego with 'death instinct' (suicidal tendency). However, in obsessional neurosis, the patient never tends toward self destruction. His love impulses toward an object transform themselves into impulses of aggression against that object. Although these tendencies remain in the id, the super ego behaves as if the ego were responsible for them. the ego defends itself vainly against the forces of the id and the punishing superego through interminable self-torment and a systematic torturing of the object (943).
How is it that in melancholia the superego can become a gathering place for suicidal tendencies?
First, the more a man controls his aggressiveness, the more intense become the aggressive tendencies of his super ego against his ego. Second, the super ego arises from an identification with the father (desexualization/sublimation). After sublimation, the erotic component no longer has the power to bind the destructive elements that were previously combined with it, and these are released in the form of inclinations to aggression and destruction (943).
The roles of the ego in relation to the id and the superego
1: All of the experiences of external life enrich the ego. The id is also an outer world to the ego and the ego strives to dominate it. It withdraws libido from the id and transforms the object cathexes of the id into ego constructions. With the aid of the superego, the ego draws upon experiences of past generations stored in the id.
2: The ego tries to mediate between the world and the id, typically by 'throwing a disguise' over the id's conflicts with reality and with the superego. However, Freud claims that this position midway between the id and reality often tempts the ego to become opportunist and false (944).
Other important functions of the ego
1: the ego arranges the processes of the mind in a temporal order and tests their correspondence with reality.
2: by interposing the process of thinking, the ego secures a postponement of motor discharges from mental processes (943-4).
ROBERT MERTON: Social Theory and Social Structure
Chapter 2: Sociological Theories of the Middle Range
There are two tendencies in sociological inquiry which Merton finds unacceptable and attempts to criticize. One is radical or narrow empiricism which stresses solely on the collection of data without any attention to a theory. The other is the abstract theorizing of scholars who are engaged in the attempt to construct a total theoretical system covering all aspects of social life (e.g. Parsons). Merton proposes sociological theories of the middle range as a solution to the two extreme positions. According to Merton, middle range theory starts its theorizing with delimited aspects of social phenomena rather than with a broad, abstract entity such as society or social system. Middle range theories may seem to be similar to general, total theories in the sense that they also involve abstractions. However, unlike those in the general theories, the abstractions in theories of the middle range are firmly backed up by observed data. Middle range theories have to be constructed with reference to phenomena that are observable in order to generate an array of theoretical problems as well as to be incorporated in propositions that permit empirical testing (39). The examples of middle range theories are a theory of reference groups, of social mobility, of role-conflict, of the formation of social norms, etc. Merton's objective in proposing the notion of middle range theory can be summarized by his statement that:
'Our major task today is to develop special theories applicable to limited conceptual ranges -- theories, for example, of deviant behavior, the unanticipated consequences of purposive action, social perception, reference groups, social control, the interdependence of social institutions -- rather than to seek the total conceptual structure that is adequate to derive these and other theories of the middle range' (51).
'Sociological theory, if it is to advance significantly, must proceed on these interconnected planes: 1. by developing special theories from which to derive hypotheses that can be empirically investigated and 2. by evolving a progressively more general conceptual scheme that is adequate to consolidate groups of special theories' (51).
Note: 1. see summary of pros and cons of middle range theory on p. 68 2. see definition and description of paradigm on p. 69-72
Chapter 3: Manifest and Latent Functions
In this chapter, Merton presents a review of chief concepts and modes of reasoning of functional theory. His aim is to improve functional analysis by pointing out its major problems and finding the way to remedy them. According to Merton, all variations of functional analysis always involve two major confusions. One is the tendency to confine observation merely to the contributions of items or practices to the social or cultural system in which they are implicated. The other is the tendency to confuse the subjective category of motive with the objective category of function. To solve these two conceptual confusions, Merton introduces two, new analytical concepts - i.e. the notion of multiple consequences and a new balance of an aggregate consequences to deal with the first problem, and the notion of manifest and latent functions to tackle the second (see summary on p. 105).
1. The Problem of an Overly Positive Interpretation
The common tendency among functional analysts to advocate merely the positive contribution of certain items and practices to a social system is based on three fundamental postulates which Merton is to criticize. These three postulates are:
1. The postulate of functional unity of society, or the assumption that in any social system, there exists a certain kind of unity or solidarity which will 'benefit every single member.' Thus, in analyzing certain items or practices, such are always interpreted in references to this unity.
Merton argues against this assumption, saying that one cannot assume 'full' integration of all societies since even a mere institution can tell that different societies do not have the same kind and degree of integration. However, to establish a statement concerning different kinds and a range of degrees of integration, one has to rely mainly on empirical findings, not on intuition.
Finally Merton concludes that in regard to issue of functional unity, functional analysts have to specify which and what kind of social unit/system they are going to analyze. The reason is different social units always have different degrees of integration, and hence the manner in which certain cultural items or practices contribute to differing social units may not be similar. Besides, such items of culture must be recognized to have multiple consequences, some of them functional and others, perhaps, dysfunctional.
2. The postulate of universal functionalism (84), or the assertion that all persisting social and cultural forms are inevitably functional or having a mere positive function to a society (84). Against this postulate, Merton contends that we need to look for the negative or dysfunctional side as well as functional consequences of these forms. And if the sociological research is to have bearing on social technology, sociologists have to be able to assess the net balance of functional consequences, i.e. the sum between the benefit and disadvantage that a certain cultural or social form brings about.
3. The postulate of indispensability, which contains two propositions, namely:
3.1 the indispensability of certain functions, or the assertions that there are certain functions which are indispensable in the sense that unless they are performed, the society will not persist (87). This assertion sets forth a concept of functional prerequisites, or preconditions functionally necessary for a society.
3.2 the indispensability of existing social institutions and cultural forms, or the assertion that the presence of existing cultural or social forms implies their indispensability to a society.
Like his earlier criticism of the first two postulates, the two assertions concerning the postulate of indispensability is refuted by Merton's concept of multiple consequences (i.e. functional and dysfunctional), and the new balance of aggregate consequences.
2. The Confusion Between Subjective Dispositions and Objective Consequences
One of Merton's major contributions to the improvement of functional analysis is his distinction between manifest and latent functions. Merton states that such distinction is devised to preclude the confusion often found between conscious motivations for social behavior and its objective consequences (114). According to Merton, these two entities: motive and functions vary independently. One should not be confused the categories of subjective disposition with categories of generally unrecognized but objective functional consequences.
Manifest functions refer to the objective consequences contributing to the adjustment or adaptation of the system which are intended and recognized by participants in the system. Latent functions, on the other hand, refer to those consequences which are neither intended nor recognized. Merton further clarifies that unintended consequences can be seen as having three sorts of functions (or three ways that they can be related to a social system). These are functional (beneficial), dysfunctional (harmful), and non-functional (irrelevant).
Note: 1. see Merton's clarification of various meanings and usages of the term function which often cause conceptual confusion on p. 74-77.
2. see Merton's interesting discussion about how conservatism and Marxism can be seen as converging and diverging in regard to functional analysis. According to Merton, the logical structure of both conservatism and Marxism are similar in that such a structure is characterized by functional mode of reasoning. The difference between the two lies in their differing ideological content (see details in p. 91-96).
Chapter 4: The Bearing of Sociological Theory on Empirical Research
Chapter 5: The Bearing of Empirical Research on Sociological Theory
The major theme running through these two chapters is the mutual relationship between theory and empirical research. The point that Merton aims to elucidate is how these two types of academic work are intimately connected as well as how one can be used to help develop or improve the other (and vice versa).
In chapter 4, Merton's discussion centers on the nature and characteristics of sociological theory. Merton's discussion as such begins with his clarification of what sociological theory is like by analytically separating it from the other five scientific activities which a number of other scholars always confuse with theory itself. These activities are methodology, general sociological orientations, analysis of sociological concepts, post factum sociological interpretations, statements of uniformities.
Merton, however, accepts that these five types of scientific work do have an intimate affinity to sociological theory. Yet, for the purpose of assessing the limitations and contributions of each, the six activities need to be kept distinct from one another because they significantly differ not only in terms of their scientific functions but also in terms of their bearings on empirical research.
Merton states that methodology should not be confused with theory. By methodology, Merton refers to the logic of scientific procedure, not a set of related propositions which characterizes theory. While methodology involves such issues as the design of investigation, the nature of inference, the requirements of a theoretical system, it does not contain the particular content of sociological theory.
2. General Sociological Orientations
General sociological orientations involve broad postulates which indicate types of variables which are somehow to be taken into account rather than specifying determinate relationships between particular variables, i.e. determinate hypotheses. The bearing of these orientations on empirical research is to provide a general context for inquiry. They constitute the point of departure for the theorists in further developing specific, interrelated hypotheses (sometimes through the reformulation of empirical generalizations in the light of these general orientations: p. 142).
3. Analysis of Sociological Concepts
'An array of concepts does not constitute theory ... Its is only when such concepts are interrelated in the form of a scheme that a theory begins to emerge. Concepts then constitute the definitions or prescriptions of what is to be observed. They are the variables between which empirical relationships are to be sought' (143).
Furthermore, conceptual clarification can sometimes help resolve antinomies in empirical findings. This can be done when such conceptual clarification leads to the reconstruction of data by indicating more precisely just what they include and what they exclude (145).
4. Post Factum Sociological Interpretation
Post factum interpretation refers to the interpretation of data after the observations have been made rather than the empirical testing of a predesignated hypothesis. One should keep in mind that post factum explanations always remain at the level of plausibility.
5. Statements of Sociological Uniformities
There are tow types of statements of sociological uniformities. One is the empirical generalization or an isolated proposition summarizing observed uniformities of relationships between two or more variables. The other is scientific laws of a statement of invariance.
6. Sociological Theory
According to Merton, sociological theory refers to logically interconnected sets of propositions from which empirical uniformities can be derived. The function of a theory is to help ordering otherwise disparate empirical findings, also see details on p. 151-53.
In chapter 5, Merton's thesis is that empirical research should not be seen as having the passive role of verifying and testing theory. In fact, empirical research does more than confirm or refute hypotheses. Merton points out the active role of empirical research. He states that empirical research 'performs at least four major functions which help shape the development of theory.' These functions are initiating a new theory especially when unanticipated, anomalous evidences are found, recasting a theory or exerting a pressure for elaboration of a conceptual scheme, refocusing a theoretical interest, and clarifying ill-defined concepts.
Chapter 6: Social Structure and Anomie
One of the major critiques against functionalism is that functional analysis tends to be ignorant, if not unable, to explain system change (or social change in particular). In this chapter, Merton's objective is to counter such an attack by showing that even though functional analysis focuses its explanation largely on the order and maintenance of the system, it by no means exclude the system dynamics or the issue of system change from its theorizing. the system change, to functional analysts, can be seen as stemming both from the environment and the system itself. Internal change is a result of the 'malfunctioning' of the social system. This malfunction can stem from many causes, but among these causes, the one the Merton selects to elucidate is the conflict between cultural goals and institutional norms, both of which can be seen as either two of many elements or two analytical phases of social and cultural structure.
Merton denotes cultural goals as a frame of aspirational reference defined firstly by social and cultural structure. Then institutional norms develop as a result of the same structure to regulate and control the acceptable modes of achieving these goals. The system is said to be in order or equilibrium in so far as these two entities are in agreement. Anomie or disorder arises when cultural goals and acceptable means defined by institutional norms come into conflict. Anomie generated by the conflict in social and cultural structure have an impact on individuals in that it constitutes the structural basis for different sorts of deviant behavior. Implied in Merton's argument is that once accumulated, anomie can move a society toward change via 'deviant agents.'
According to Merton, there are five modes of adaptation by individuals within the society over which conflicts between cultural goals and institutional norms reigns. These are:
1. Conformity: the acceptance of both cultural goals and acceptable means defined by institutional norms.
2. Innovation: the acceptance of cultural goals, but such goals are attained by the use of means disapproved by institutional norms.
3. Ritualism: the excessive conformity to legitimate means with the ignorance of cultural goals which such means are to serve.
4. Retreatism: the passivity to both cultural goals and means approved by institutional norms. This may sometimes involve the withdrawal from the system.
5. Rebellion: the rejection of both cultural goals and institutionally approved means. Rather there is an attempt to establish new goals and means in place of the old ones.
Chapter 10: Contributions to the Theory of Reference Group Behavior
The theme of this chapter centers on the relationships between a concept of relative deprivation and a theory of reference group behavior. Using the empirical data and some interpretive concepts in the book 'The American Soldier' to highlight such relationships, Merton also points out the reciprocal nature between concepts and theories in general.
The Concept of Relative Deprivation
According to Merton, the concept of relative deprivation has a kinship to such well-known sociological concepts as 'social frame of reference,' 'patterns of expectation,' or 'definition of the situation.' Relative deprivation is defined as a state of dissatisfaction resulting from the act of comparing one's own situation with that of others. By taking others as a significant point of reference, individuals can make three kinds of comparison. These are comparisons:
1. with others who were in actual association
2. with those who are in the same status or in the same social category
3. with those who are in different status or in a different social category or a combination of the three, i.e. with various unassociated others who are of a status similar in some salient respect and dissimilar in other respects (for details see p. 285, also see the discussion on Mead p. 292-5; 300-2).
The Theory of Reference Group Behavior
Merton states that the concept of relative deprivation can be regarded as a special concept in reference group theory. Here, Merton makes clear the difference between concept and theory, and the relations between the two. Theories, to Merton, need to have wider applicability than concepts. Concepts may describe phenomena in terms of their characteristics, but theories have to specify particular conditions under which these phenomenon are to occur, or not. The example of the concept of relative deprivation and the theory of reference group behavior may help to clarify the different functions of the two analytical works.
Merton sees the concept of relative deprivation as helpful in clarifying what is counter intuitive. However, the power of such a concept in explaining phenomena is still inadequate since it cannot answer some questions, for example, under which conditions are associates within one's own groups taken as a frame of reference for self-evaluation and attitude formation, and under which conditions are associates within one's own groups taken as a frame of reference for self-evaluation and attitude formation, and under which conditions do out-groups or non-membership groups provide the significant frame of reference? Or if multiple groups or statuses are taken as a frame of reference by the individual, how are these discrepancies resolved?
Theory of reference groups comes in at this point. To Merton, 'a theory must be generalized to the point where it can account for both membership- and non-membership-group orientations ... In general, reference group theory aims to systematize the determinants and consequences of those processes of evaluation and self-appraisal in which the individual takes the values or standards of other individuals and groups as a comparative frame of reference (288).'
In sum, even through concepts are a part of a theory, 'once the connection between concept and theory has been established, concepts can act as a catalyst quickening theoretical clarification and the formulation f problems for further empirical study (288).'
Note: see reference group theory and social mobility p. 316-25, esp. the concept of anticipatory socialization (319-20).
Chapter 13: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Self fulfilling prophecy, to Merton, is a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the originally false conception come true. An example which would help clarify this notion of a rumor of insolvency once believed by enough depositors, would result in the insolvency of the bank.
Merton sees the notion of self-fulfilling prophecy as having close connection with W.I. Thomas' notion of definition of the situation. Thomas states 'if men define situations as real, they re real in their consequences.' By the same token, self-fulfilling prophecy can be seen as public definition of a situation that becomes an integral part of the situation and thus affect subsequent developments. Merton says that self-fulfilling prophecy 'is peculiar to human affairs. It is not found in the world of nature, untouched by human hands. Predictions of the return of Halley's comet do not influence its orbit. But the rumored insolvency of Millingville's band did affect the actual outcome. The prophecy of collapse led to its own fulfillment (477).'
ROBERT K. MERTON The Sociology of Science
Chapter 1: Paradigm for the Sociology of Knowledge
Knowledge is broadly defined as every type of idea or mode of thought and deals with the entire gamut of cultural products (e.g., ideas, ideologies, ethical beliefs, science, etc.) (pp. 7, 19). The sociology of knowledge is concerned with the relationship between knowledge and other 'existential factors' in society or culture (such as social position, class, role, values, ethos, etc.).
Merton traces notions of the sociology of knowledge to classical theorists to differentiate his view from theirs. To sum their views regarding knowledge:
1.) Marx: base and superstructure; ideas have a material base
2.) Max Scheler: distinction between cultural sociology and the sociology of real factors
3.) Mannheim: explores variety of group formation and corresponding variety of perspectives and knowledge
4.) Durkheim: the genesis of categories of thought is to be found in the group structure and relations; the categories change with changes in social organization
5.) Sorokin: an idealistic and emanationist theory; knowledge is derived from 'cultural mentalities'
These classical theorists have defined the relationship between knowledge and existential factors either in terms of causal or functional models or in terms of symbolic, organismic, or meaningful models. Merton also believes Znaniecki's concept of 'the social circle' is useful in this area. 'Searching out variations in effective audiences, exploring their distinctive criteria of significant and valid knowledge, relating these to their position within the society...constitutes a procedure which promises to take research in the sociology of knowledge from the plane of general imputation to that of testable empirical inquiry' (pp. 34-35).
Merton's Paradigm for the Sociology of Knowledge:
1. Where is the existential basis of mental productions located?
a. social bases (e.g., social position, generation, mode of production, etc.)
b. cultural bases (e.g., values, cultural mentality, etc.)
2. What mental productions are being sociologically analyzed?
a. spheres of: moral beliefs, ideologies, ideas, social norms, etc.
b. which aspects are analyzed?: their selection, level of abstraction, presuppositions, etc.
3. How are mental productions related to the existential basis?
a. causal or functional relations
b. symbolic or organismic or meaningful relations
c. ambiguous terms to designate relations
4. Why related? Manifest and latent functions imputed to these existentially conditioned mental productions.
a. to maintain power, promote stability, exploitation, provide motivation, etc.
5. When do the imputed relations of the existential base and knowledge obtain?
a. historicist theories
b. general analytical theories
Chapter 13: The Normative Structure of Science
Merton is interested in one limited aspect of science as an institution and that is the cultural values and mores governing the activities termed scientific ('the ethos of science'). There are four institutional imperatives (mores) of science that derive from the institutional goal (the extension of certified knowledge) and the technical methods employed. These are:
1.) Universalism: claims to truth are subject to pre-established impersonal criteria, consonant with observation and with previously confirmed knowledge
2.) Communism: findings of science are a product of social collaboration and are assigned to the community
3.) Disinterestedness: even though the scientific community is characterized by high competition, there is a forceful structure of control to ensure integrity and reduce cheating and fraud
4.) Organized Skepticism: scientists are socialized to be critical
Such institutional values and norms are transmitted by precept and example, reinforced by sanctions, internalized by scientists, and thus fashion the scientific conscience.
Chapter 14: Priorities in Scientific Discovery
Here Merton analyzes priority disputes over scientific findings to elaborate the institutional mores of the scientific community that he outlined in Chapter 13. In addition to the four norms listed above, he explains how the emphasis on originality and humility play against one another in disputes over priority. Like other institutions, science has a system of allocating rewards for the performance of roles. These rewards are largely honorific (e.g. naming a discovery after the scientist or receiving the Nobel Prize). However, when such aspirations cannot be realized, deviant behavior may result (See discussion in Social Structure and Anomie). The more thoroughly scientists ascribe an unlimited value to originality, the more they are in this sense dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, the greater is their involvement in the successful outcome of inquiry and their emotional vulnerability to failure. Merton distinguishes between active and passive deviance. Examples of active deviance within the scientific community include fraud, forgery, 'trimming and cooking' (i.e. reporting only successes and not failures), plagiary, and slander against colleagues. Passive deviance includes retreatism, apathy, and fantasy. While Merton is careful to emphasize the rarity of deviance, he nonetheless stresses the weaknesses of value systems for maintaining social order.