This volume offers scholars of sociology and allied areas the fruits of an international conference on the contributions of the eminent Robert K. Merton. The assessment, as good in content as well as in participants, took place in Amalfi, Italy, with the participation of Merton himself and under the auspices of the Italian Sociology Association. Carlo Mongardini aptly summarizes the unique impact of Merton on the social theory of our century. "His strength as a classic writer lies in his balance, unveiling complexity, and in his humanism which looks beyond the apparent simplicity and coherence of social reality."
A special treat is the final chapter by Merton reviewing "Unanticipated Conse-quences and Kindred Sociological Ideas." In it, he ranges from the historical an-tecedents of the concept to his own evolution in the use and expansion of the idea. Merton approaches the development of his thought as installments rather than sim-ple evolution, and in so doing gives us unique insight into how he built upon his originating notions in the context of social science as it existed in the United States. Tensions between integrating scholarship and reaching the general public provide a special insight into Merton that might prove new even to those who know his work well.
Contributors to this original volume include: Volker Meja, Nico Stehr, Paolo Ammassari, Gianni Statera, Birgitta Nedelmann, Harriet Zuckerman, Piotr Sztompka, Peter Gerlich, Charles Crothers, Elena Besozzi, and Arnold Zongerle, among others. The chapters address the full range of Merlon's work, with special emphasis on such areas as anomie, structural analysis, the relationship of theory to research, patterns of latent and manifest influence, and even the application of Mertonian concepts to the analysis of Merton as a scholar. This unusual compendium, translated from the Italian, will interest social researchers across the academic spectrum.