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Comte Durkheim And Marx Essay

1509 words - 6 pages

Illustrate the role of early social thinkers, such as Comte, Durkheim, and Marx.There were many contributors to early sociological thinking and such a diverse discipline could not be attributed to one person. There is no single perspective but many and these along with theorists change over time. When looking at the origins of sociology it is those whose ideas and theories are still influential to this day that are considered to be the founders of sociology. Theories are an important part of sociology they help to understand and explain the nature of the social world. It was towards the end of the industrial revolution that the social sciences began to emerge, giving rise to concerns about social order due to the massive rises in population. Beginning with introductions to three of the early social thinkers and an exploration of their views and theories the reasons why they are considered pioneers will become clear.The French author August Comte was born in Montpellier in 1796 and grew up during the years following the French Revolution which were times of vast changes. Comte wanted to make sociology the 'queen of sciences' and Comte's importance in the history of sociology is due to his invention of the word 'sociology' which he invented in 1839. He used this term to describe the subject of his studies because he wanted to distinguish his studies and views from those of others. (Giddens 1993:706) One of Comte's leading ideas was that society should be studied using the same methods that were being used in the natural sciences. This approach is known as positivism and it presented science as the study of observable phenomena. For Comte positivism involved emphasis on "rational, critical thought and the use of evidence" (Fulcher and Scott 1999:26). Comte also contributed to the ideas of social statics and dynamics. Simply explained social statics are the laws governing how society holds together and social dynamics how society changes over time. (Cuff 1990:28). Comte's work evolved in time from lectures to writing and his main works Course in Positive Philosophy was six volumes. Following this he wrote System of Positive Politics which was also several volumes, and was completed in 1854 only three years before his death. (Fulcher and Scott 1999:27).August Comte's work had a direct effect on another frenchman Emile Durkheim who was born in 1858. Durkheim was a philosopher and sociologist who also like Comte sought to establish sociology on a scientific basis. According to Durkheim sociology must study "social facts" and that in order to be objective social facts were to be known as "things". Social facts were described by Durkheim as collective ways of acting, thinking or feeling that are external to the individual. Durkheim was especially concerned with social structure and the question of what causes social order and this was probably due to the emergence of industrialism and the resulting problems it brought to society. Durkheim's studies of...

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