The American Sociologist

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 142-173

First online:

The Merton Theorem Revisited and Restated: Conservatism and Fascism as Functional Analogues

  • Milan ZafirovskiAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of North Texas Email author 

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The paper revisits and restates the Merton Theorem of American religious conservatism (Puritanism) and European fascism (Nazism) as functional analogues. The original formulation the Merton Theorem identifies and describes them as functional analogues in nativism or nationalism through exclusion of and aggression against non-native out-groups. The paper offers an extended restatement of the Merton Theorem in which American conservatism and European fascism function as functional analogues in that both represent the model of a closed, or the antithesis to an open, society, of which nativism is a special case. In the extended Merton Theorem they are functional analogues specifically in terms of such indicators or dimensions of a closed society as political absolutism, closure and oppression, religious absolutism and nihilism, moral absolutism and repression, and extremism.


Merton theorem Conservatism Fascism Puritanism