Dados n. 8 Rio de Janeiro 1971

O Dom da Eterna Juventude

Schwartzman, Simon


The effort of bringing sociology from semi-literary speculation level to sound, precise and well demarked theory level, and overall, empirically verified, has found in the "theories of middle range" notion one of its best basis. Robert K. Merton's propositions have had a just and decisive influence in modern Sociology development. However, ln fact, that so-called "great theory" has not failed of existing, and on the contrary has gotten greater and greater importance in proportion that North American Social Science itself has become more interested in complex social systems analysis and ln transition processes. It's in this background that one could justify a new reflexion on Merton's propositions, from Max Weber macro-sociology concept that himself was helping to develop. This article stands from contrast between Merton's and Weber's propositions, and goes firstly into a summarized analysis of North-american and European sociologies of Sociology, that grossly represents the two trends. Since the establishment of this point, a more epistemological analysis is made on the types of sociology study themes, their relations and the discussion between "comprehension" and "explication", probabilistic explanation problems versus those of deterministic explanation, etc. The general conclusion is that Social Science "eternal youth", suggested by Weber as an essential characteristic of a science involving historical subjects, could not be abandoned in name of a excessively humble and of short extent paradigm that we could deduce from Mertonian's propositions. And, what's more important, the positions deviated from Merton's proposition are perfectly compatible, and they have been effectively used to allow a well articulated precise, demarked and testable treatment of high level theories.

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O Dom da Eterna Juventude