Hi this is for sociology upper division class, the idea of the paper is to select one concept from Marx, one concept from Durkheim and one concept from weber and answer the five questions and instructions given by the instructor below. I will also attach some of the key concept notes that are given by the instructor throughout the semester so you can easily choose the concept you want for each of them. The paper should be 3 single spaced pages, 1 page each for Marx, Durkheim, and Weber, and assign their name for each concept page. Let me know if you need anything.
Instruction by the instructor
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sociological ConceptsÃ¢â‚¬Â paper: For this assignment, I ask that you select one concept from Marx, one concept from Durkheim and one concept from Weber and address the following questions for each of the three concepts:
What is the concept? and how is it defined by that theorist?
What other concepts from this theorist / theory is this concept closely linked to?
Where do we see this concept today?
Give an example.
Each of these three concept analyses should be one-page, single-spaced, informed from the literature, and creative in application.
Karl Marx – Class Inequality Ã¢â‚¬â€œ chapter 3 in Explorations of Classical Social Theory / chapter 1 in
Key Works: The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts 1844; Manifesto of the Communist
Party 1848; Capital 1867; many othersÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Key theoretical proposition: The greater the level of class conflict in a Capitalist society, the
great the severity of economic revolution.
1. Karl Marx is a Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ positivist, evolutionary theorist, conflict theorist, (utopian theorist),
grand, economistic sociologist.
2. Class Matters: Ã¢â‚¬Å“ClassÃ¢â‚¬Â is Karl MarxÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unit of analysis, specifically the role of class
conflict in the evolution of human history. Classes are groups of people who share a
common position in relation to the means (tools) of production ( raw materials,
technology, land, etc). Marx sees history and its evolution as characterized by two
groups of people, two classes. One class that owns the means of production and one
(larger) class whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s labor in exploited / taken from them.that From a Marxist point of
view, oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s class location informs so many aspects of peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lives; where one lives,
shops, vacations, and goes to school, who one associates with, marriesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, shops, votes
for and watches on TV. Our class location, while maybe not at widely-acknowledged
and discussed as oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s race or gender, is fundamentally more impactful oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lived
experience than any other demographic factor.
3. Human Nature; species being (labor as our true nature). What is work? free and
creative production that contributes to the collective well being. Labor (i.e. the
objectification of oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s creative potential) is the most vital conduit for self-realization
/ actualization – we see ourselves in the things we make. Marx assumes that economic
production is socially-based, not individually-based. But most people throughout
human history – i.e. the subordinate class – have not been able to control this vital
process of creative production (that is they have had their labor exploited by others).
Thus, the working classes throughout history, including todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s manufacturing and
service sector workers, have been denied the opportunity to realize their full humanity.
4. The material dialectic:(material = economic mode of production; dialectic = the
dynamic element; the engine of history, inevitable(built-in) class conflict. Marx
contends Ã¢â‚¬Å“The history of all hitherto society is the history of class conflict.Ã¢â‚¬Â – the
inherent and inevitable Ã¢â‚¬Å“internal contradictionsÃ¢â‚¬Â of various modes of production
(including capitalism) and the resultant class conflict in each mode of production is
what moves societies along a linear path through time. Each economy is pregnant with
the next one, so to speak; each economy prepares the way for or provides the necessary
economic conditions for the next society to emerge. And it is the inevitable class
conflict that stands at the center of each economic mode that propels the change
hunting /gathering (pre-class) -> ancient -> feudal -> capitalist ->socialism / communism (these
are MarxÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“ModeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s of ProductionÃ¢â‚¬Â or basic economic forms)
The dialectic: the substance of change; the source of historical evolution and improvement. Every
thesis (mode of production) gives rise to / contains within it an antithesis (internal contradictions).
Marx contends this historic journey of evolving economies concludes with communism (a final
social utopia) where the economic system is in harmony with humanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s species being.
5. Capitalism: labor theory of value and exploitation.
At the core of MarxÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s labor theory of value is the belief that labor is the source of all value (and
hence wealth), that is to say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“workers,Ã¢â‚¬Â via their labor power, are the ultimate producers of value,
profit, wealth. Capital investment without labor exploitation produces no value. Workers produce
all value, not the ownership class. This theory holds that owners of the means (tools) of production
pays each worker less than the value they each produce and keeps that profit for themselves. Thus,
the more workers, the higher the rate of exploitation, the greater the profits.
This is why most American capital investment went abroad decades ago, cheaper labor costs /
higher rates of exploitation), and greater profits.
10 minute break
6. Class conflict: A basic feature of all modes-of-production (economies) throughout
history; a small class that exploits / lives off the labor of the large class. It is this class
conflict between owners and workers that animates history according to Marx. Two
classes, two distinct sets of class interests, fundamentally antagonistic. Capitalism is
no different, and is characterized by two antagonistic classes the bourgeoisie (owners)
and the proletariat (workers). The bourgeoisie (non-producers) live off the profits
produced by the working class. Class conflict is ultimately resolved in the a communist
8. The ramifications of capitalism:
Alienation: a social condition suffered by the working class as the result of having their labor
exploited (i.e. not having control over their creative production process).
Alienation means Ã¢â‚¬Å“estrangement fromÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“separation fromÃ¢â‚¬Â oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s species being(labor), and is
made manifest in an array of individual pathologies; depression, substance abuse, violence, etc.
The exploited working class, forced to sell their labor to the ownership become alienated from: 1.
their species being 2. the products of production 3. The process of production 4. other workers
Commodity fetish: A strong desire for a commodity but not seeing it as a product of exploited
human labor. A lack of awareness of or concern for who made these products and under what
conditions., thus as working class consumers we purchase the products made by other exploited
workers and are largely unaware of our own involvement in perpetuating class exploitation.
Ideology: Those who own and control the material means of production also have the power to
control the mental means of production. That is to say public ideology, beliefs, norms, discourse,
etc. is largely shaped by the interest of the ownership class. This is often referred to as Ã¢â‚¬Å“BaseSuperstucture;Ã¢â‚¬Â the class the controls the Ã¢â‚¬Å“economic baseÃ¢â‚¬Â of society also controls the Ã¢â‚¬Å“ideological
superstructureÃ¢â‚¬Â that controls public understandings including media, education, religion (the opiate
of the masses.Ã¢â‚¬Â Ideologies are not neutral. Ideologies represent the interest of the ownership class.
Example: todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s belief in Ã¢â‚¬Å“Meritocracy:Ã¢â‚¬Â An economically just and fair competition where all
individuals merit their position, rich and poor.
8. class consciousness + economic crises — socialism / communism. Marx theorized
that the future transition from a capitalist mode of production to a social/communist
mode production would be the result of growing class consciousness (i.e. awareness of
class dynamics and oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s position in their conflict) coupled with an economic crises
(predicted by Marx to become more sever with time). This coupling of class
consciousness and economic crises would set the stage for a working class revolution
Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a collective ownership of the economy, and the end of worker of exploitation Phase
one Ã¢â‚¬â€œ socialism where a strong government is necessary to guide the collectivization
of the economy, followed by phase 2 – communism Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no authority necessary, people
govern themselves, collective production, all human needs are met, humans fulfilled
by the act of production for the public good. Communism is the final resting point in
human history where the economy is in sync with our fundamental species being.
9. Thinking about modernity and postmodernity: shift from working in a world largely
composed of the machines of production to a world of working in a world of machines
of reproduction has ultimately severed the connection between culture and the material
world. People have long lived in a modern world of materially-grounded ideas, that is
cultural meanings emanated from and were closely tied to oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work. Today, the
postmodernists argue the link is no longer, We now live in a world where our cultural
interests, and meaning we attach to them are not informed by what we make / our class.
Today, we live in a world of free-floating signifiers, not tied to our class location.
Emile Durkheim Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Diversity and Social Solidarity, ch. 4 in Explorations of Classical Soc.
Theory & ch 2 in Sociological Lives and Ideas
Key Works: The Division of Labor in Society (1893); The Rules of the Sociological Method
(1895); Suicide (1897 ); Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912)
Key theoretical proposition: The greater the social diversity created through structural
differentiation, the greater the need for a more general Ã¢â‚¬Å“moral cultureÃ¢â‚¬Â able to integrate such social
10 summary points
1. Emile Durkheim is a Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ positivist (social realist), evolutionary theorist, cultural
theorist, structural- functionalist (he builds on SpencerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s simple Ã¢â‚¬Å“organicistÃ¢â‚¬Â
functionalism by recasting social systems, as first and foremost, moral systems).
2. Marx vs. Durkheim. Here is quick overview of these two influential early theorists.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“a thingÃ¢â‚¬Â rooted in the economy
Ã¢â‚¬Å“a thingÃ¢â‚¬Â rooted in a moral
to be studiedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“empiricallyÃ¢â‚¬Â through comparative history. Ã¢â‚¬Å“empiricallyÃ¢â‚¬Â through social facts
key Ã¢â‚¬Å“modernÃ¢â‚¬Â problemÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
3. Intellectual influences: From Rousseau the idea of a Ã¢â‚¬Å“general willÃ¢â‚¬Â which informs
DurkheimÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s concept of collective consciousness and from Montesquieu, the four
Ã¢â‚¬Å“principles of social scienceÃ¢â‚¬Â which informs DurkheimÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s emphasis on sociologyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
reliance on social facts.
4. Primal Society: Religion / The Sacred World: Society and Religion are
inseparable. Religion is the first unifying social institution. The source of everything
social. The original social glue, that binds people together into groups. For Durkheim
three things constitute religion in its most basic form: the presence of sacred things,
beliefs and practices, and a moral community Ã¢â‚¬â€œ three social phenomena. Durkheim
does not invoke the supernatural or God in his sociological analysis of religion. Note
here his ritual theory of the social processes of the sacred world.
5. Sociology is the study of social facts. (DurkheimÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s epistemology)
Social facts are: are to be treated Ã¢â‚¬Å“as things,Ã¢â‚¬Â and thus studied empirically, not philosophically.
Social facts consists of ways of acting, thinking, and feeling, that are external to and coercive of
Social facts that external to and coercive of the individual action.
Social facts can only be explained by other social facts, they are not reducible to individual
Social facts are of two broad types Material social facts (observable, measurable, comparable),
things such as law, the division of labor in society, rates of divorce, graduation, suicide etc.; and
Non-Material Social facts (not directly observable, only indirectly through material social facts),
things such as level of social solidarity, extent of a shared moral culture, levels of societal
regulation and integration; strength of the collective consciousness.
Durkheim wants sociology to be the scientific inquiry into the sources of social solidarity and
stability. He wants sociology to study the world we can see (empirically speaking) to explain (the
more important world) that we cannot directly observe. A science of moral systems. Example,
studying different legal codes (i.e. laws) as a material indicator of the dominant type of social
solidarity (mechanical or organic); or differential group suicide rates as a material indicator as to
the strength of different groupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ability to integrate and regulate members. (more on this with
Ã¢â‚¬Å“suicideÃ¢â‚¬Â notes below_
6. mechanical organic solidarity
Social solidarity, a non-material social facts, refers to the degree to which social units are
integrated Durkheim introduces two categories of social solidarity. Durkheim identifies two
distinct types of social solidarity, an older Ã¢â‚¬Å“mechanicalÃ¢â‚¬Â solidarity and new, modern, Ã¢â‚¬Å“organicÃ¢â‚¬Â
solidarity. He theorizes that as societies evolve into industrial, modern forms, that the type of social
solidarity, i.e. social glue, also evolves. All societies evolve from older, mechanical solidarity
Mechanical solidarity: individuals directly relate with the collective consciousness with no
intermediary, individuals are joined by common beliefs and sentiments. Collective ideas are
stronger than the individual, strong attachment to family and religion. Made empirically available
(observable) through repressive laws.
Organic solidarity: individuals relate to the collective consciousness through intermediaries.
Individuals are joined by relationships among special and different functions, individual ideas and
tendencies are strong, weak attachment to family and tradition. Made empirically available
(observable through restitutive laws.
Note: Durkheim is suggesting that we study the world that is empirically available (laws on the
books) to elucidate the world not directly available for scientific study (social solidarity
7. Organic Solidarity: the problem of social order; anomie
Durkheim identifies a variety of social pressures or social changes that push societies forward
toward a new social solidarity, they include: growing structural interdependency, culture
generalization, intermediary group formation, restitutive law, centralization of power and the
growing Ã¢â‚¬Å“cult of the individual.Ã¢â‚¬Â Together these social forces serve to provide a new social
solidarity, interdependence, rather than sameness.
8. Anomie; normlessess, lawlessness. A social condition experienced by some groups whereby
the regulative norms and obligation s of a society loose sway. When normative constraints no
longer guide individual / group behavior. Anomie results from rapid structural differentiation (in
the division of labor) without the appropriate moral bonds. For Durkheim, anomie was the real
challenge facing modern societies Ã¢â‚¬â€œ how to successfully integrate and regulate ever differentiated
9. Suicide. In his 1897study of suicide, Durkheim offers a sociological explanation for what was
thought to be a purely psychological matter, that is, suicide as social behavior. Durkheim is relying
on the empirical (measurable) world of differential suicide rates as material indicators of a groupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
integrative and regulative control. He argues that when a group attachment and behavior regulation
are too high or too low, suicide rates increase. He identifies four social types of suicide; altruistic,
egoistic, fatalistic and anomic.
10. Postmodern social theory and the critique of grand narratives. Like Marx, Durkheim is
offering us a grand narrative about how societies evolve and what at their center. A grand narrative
is an overarching explanation that makes things look monolithic. Postmodern social theorists call
such grand narrative into doubt, arguing they are no longer useful or desirable. The world is far
too complex / non-linear to offer a single explanation, and such narratives typically are based in
privileged knowledge and position.
Max Weber (1865-1920): Rationality and Organization
Key Publications: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904); Bureaucracy (1925);
The Types of Legitimate Domination (1925); The Distribution of Power within the Political
Community: Class Status, Party. (1925)
Key Theoretical Proposition: The greater the level of rationalization of social processes, the
greater the dehumanization, depersonalization, and disenchantment.
Society is composed of groups (acting individuals) in interaction. Individual social action within
a specific cultural milieu. Cultural context is key to understanding social action. (ontology)
Society is to be studied through the interpretive lens (not a positivistic lens) that relies on the
construction of ideal types (an analytical model of typical features) and verstehen (empathetic
understanding of the subjective meanings that motivate group actions. (epistemology)
McDonalds. It is there where the principles of rationality are perhaps most clearly evidenced and
available for all of us to see. In many ways, McDonalds is a great window into the priorities of all
highly rationalized (bureaucratic) organizations that characterize modernity. WeberÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s theory of
rationalization identifies four (4) principles, that together become the guiding principles of
modern (instrumental) rationality. (Must Read! The McDonaldization of Society by George Ritzer
Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a Weberian analysis of the fast food industry)
Efficiency Ã¢â‚¬â€œ choosing the optimal means to a given end.
Predictability Ã¢â‚¬â€œ standardization over time and space.
Calculability Ã¢â‚¬â€œ an emphasis on quantity, numbers, what can be counted.
Control Ã¢â‚¬â€œ technological control over humans (automation, scripting, etc.)
McDonalds (fast-food), Walmart, Target, Amazon (big retail), IBM, Microsoft, Google (big tech.)
are all; competitive, profitable, complex bureaucratic organizations committed to the increasingly
rational action and these underlying four principles.
ButÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.Weber points out
While rational action is good for the Ã¢â‚¬Å“organizationÃ¢â‚¬Â (profitability, cost reduction, systemization,
etc.) is not necessarily good for Ã¢â‚¬Å“individuals.Ã¢â‚¬Â Rational systems inevitably produce irrational
consequences (always conjoined / never separable). That is to say, bureaucratization and
dehumanization evolve together. The greater the levels of rational organization, the greater the
dehumanizing consequences, producing a widely-shared Ã¢â‚¬Å“iron-cage of bureaucracyÃ¢â‚¬Â the denial of
individual reason, the pushing-out of all other human motivations. An inescapable fate, Weber is
pessimistic about our future freedoms.
(update! different social groups experience bureaucracy differently! An Ã¢â‚¬Å“iron cageÃ¢â‚¬Â for some
groups e.g. retail workers), a Ã¢â‚¬Å“rubber cageÃ¢â‚¬Â (for the affluent) or Ã¢â‚¬Å“velvet cageÃ¢â‚¬Â (youth) for others.
These four intertwined principles / objectives – efficiency, predictability, calculability, and control
– Weber argues, are the defining features of the modern world. Increasingly pursued in all areas of
life. Inescapable and relentless, the future, according to Weber is likely an ever more intensifying
world of instrumental rationality
Rationalization: the process through which affective ties, spirituality, and tradition are replaced
by rational calculation, efficiency and control.
1. He saw modern societies as increasingly employing / characterized by an
Ã¢â‚¬Å“instrumentalÃ¢â‚¬Â (aka Ã¢â‚¬Å“formalÃ¢â‚¬Â) rationality, and displacing an older Ã¢â‚¬Å“substantiveÃ¢â‚¬Â
rationality. While not understood as a universal covering law, Weber did see an
evolving process of rationality as an overarching trend in the modern era and central to
the working of capitalism.
2. The Ã¢â‚¬Å“ProtestantÃ¢â‚¬Â roots of instrumental rationality. Calvinism (an early form of
Protestantism) is premised upon the (2) irrational ideas of predestination and asceticism
which produced a new rational work ethic and level of production (and profits) before
unseen. (the dialectical intertwining of rationality and irrationality) Weber contends
that this new, religiously-inspired work-ethic / attitude toward success served as the
guiding cultural logic along-side the newly emergent capitalist economy. Protestant
theology (i.e. the Protestant Ethic) and Capitalism share an Ã¢â‚¬Å“elective affinityÃ¢â‚¬Â (i.e. a
mutual attraction). Again, big picture, whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s evolving in human society? The guiding
logic, a societyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rationality. Instrumental rationality displaces an older substantive
rationality -in which groups themselves chose unique means and ends
3. WeberÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s three uses of the concept rationalization:
as a means end calculation (the most efficient, systematic way to achieve a given end)
as an organizational form (bureaucracy -a rational form of social organization) see below
as the opposite of enchantment (disenchantment; the loss of magic, mystery, fate, etc.)
4. Bureaucracies are organized according to rational principles.
1.official jurisdictional areas
2. office hierarchy management via written documents
3. appointment via specialized qualifications
4.official activity demands full working capacity
5 office follows known (general) rules
6. the organization owns the career ladder
WeberÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Epistemology / examples
Society is to be studied through the interpretive lens (not a positivistic lens) that relies on verstehen
(empathetic understanding of the subjective meanings that motivate group actions. and the
construction of ideal types (an analytical model of typical features).
Verstehen: is the empathetic understanding of unique events in history, as seen through the
subjective categories / meanings into which the actors have placed their world. Verstehen involves
an interpretive understanding of social life. The goal of sociology, according to Weber, is to
understand the meanings that motivate / animate group actions. (Today this takes the form of field
research or ethnography which attempts to reveal an insiderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s perspective).
Ideal Types: or ideal type categories are conceptual constructions that sociologists construct and
are used as standards of comparison in the empirical world. Ideal types consist of typical features
of a social phenomena. They are mental fictions, simplifying tools. They do not exist in reality.
Ideal types allow sociology to create objective knowledge out of subjective meanings.
Three areas of social life in which Weber employs ideal type categories. Social Action; Authority;
Ã¢â€”Â Types of social action Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ã¢â‚¬Å“social actionÃ¢â‚¬Â is something that individuals / groups attach
subjective meaning to. Weber identifies four (4) bases by which groups attach meaning
to their actions. Weber is interested in more than just human behavior, but what
motivates human behavior. Ã¢â‚¬Å“HumanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s act, not just behave.Ã¢â‚¬Â He generates four (4) ideal
types of social action, to be used for comparative purposes.
traditional action Ã¢â‚¬â€œ action motivated by habit or time-honored beliefs.
affective action Ã¢â‚¬â€œ action motivated by emotions in a given situation.
value-rational action Ã¢â‚¬â€œ action based on oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s moral or values.
instrumental-rational action Ã¢â‚¬â€œ action in which rational means and ends are instrumentally related
to one another.
* note two types of Ã¢â‚¬Å“rationalÃ¢â‚¬Â (i.e. calculated) action, the prior based on a strongly held group
value, the latter based on efficiency.
Ã¢â€”Â Types of legitimate domination – three (3) Ã¢â‚¬Å“authority typesÃ¢â‚¬Â traditional, charismatic,
rational-legal. Unlike coercive power, authority (i.e. legitimate power) entails a
situation in which the Ã¢â‚¬Å“right to ruleÃ¢â‚¬Â has been accorded or consented to. Authority is
consensual and rooted in one of three bases for legitimation.
Traditional authority Ã¢â‚¬â€œ authority rooted in the belief in custom/ tradition.
Legal rational authority – authority rooted in the belief in procedure.
Charismatic authority Ã¢â‚¬â€œ rooted in the belief in intrinsic or supernatural gifts of the individual.
The overarching trend in modern history is the shift from reliance on traditional authorities to
reliance legal-rational authorities (from custom to procedure). Weber does keep the door open to
the (unpredictable) possibility of charismatic leaders intervening in this historic process in an effort
to redirect society toward more reasonable / less rational less matters.
Social Stratification: Class, Status, Party:
Weber identifies three types of social groupings (economic groups –> classes; cultural groups –>
status groups; power groups –> parties), three bases upon which groups form and stratify
themselves. Weber sees these myriads of groups / social interests as Ã¢â‚¬Å“crosscutting,Ã¢â‚¬Â that is,
continually intersecting, mutually interdependent, incentivizing one another, influencing one
another, coercing one another, etc. This ongoing conflict between group interests is the basis for
social change /evolution. Social conflict and social change are continual. Weber is advancing a
much more complex, multi-faceted view social groups than MarxÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s simple two-class model.
Classes Ã¢â‚¬â€œ groups possessing a shared market location. There exist many such classes.
Status groups Ã¢â‚¬â€œ groups sharing some cultural value or priority. There exist many such status
Parties Ã¢â‚¬â€œ groups operating in the pursuit of power (power Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the ability of someone / group to realize
their own will in social action, even against the resistance of others participating in that action
The Evolution of Religion: Religion is a central concern to each of the classical theorists. Whereas
Durkheim saw religion and society as one Ã¢â‚¬â€œ society as inherently religious; and Marx viewed
religion as an ideological (quieting) tool of class subordination, Weber was interested in
elucidating the evolution of religion in society, offering social (not theological) explanations for
its progression. He highlights two key processes as part of this historical change.
Magic (naturalism) Religion (symbolism): due to professionalization (more time to commit to;
more vested interests) of the priesthood and economic changes (the creation of surpluses, relieving
some group members from work / survival). This leads to greater symbolic complexity / level of
abstraction of religion and necessary role of the priest.
Religion then evolves from Polytheism (multiple local Gods arranged in a pantheon, each with a
specific sphere of influence) to Ethical Monotheism (a single, universal God), for reasons such
as the consolidation of state power by Monarchs by reducing the number of pathways of accessing
God and thus increasing social control.
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