Three men, each with their own views of society and each called Fathers of Sociology and Modern Sociology by the people that continue to study their theories as it relates to society. In order to compare and contrast them, each must be given a short synopsis (if that is ever possible) of a key point in their theory and interpretation of society. Durkheim introduces us to the concept of “anomie”. Anomie, as explained by Durkheim’s theory, is the breakdown of the influence of social norms on individuals within a society. Durkheim explained mechanical solidarity, in early society, where there was not a lot of diversity, people lived in small communities (generally farming), had economic similarity and were mostly homogenous. Durkheim argues that in the last five-hundred years, society has shifted to an organic solidarity which is defined as a society based on interdependency. Society has moved to a heterogeneous form in society. People within society now have the ability to leave the original community, to have smaller families, live in larger communities. Durkheim goes on to explain that when people go through the transition from mechanical to organic solidarity, there is uncertainty and a slowness to adapt. He defines this state of anomie as a state of “normlessness”, or insufficient normative regulation. As a structural-functionalist, Durkheim believed that harmony, rather than conflict, defined society, and studied the division of labor, religion and suicide from this perspective.
Karl Marx, on the other hand focuses his theories on the relationship between human lives and a capitalist economy. The theory of historical materialism provides a framework for analyzing human society and the laws of its development. Marx identifies a capitalist society by dividing it into two major social classes. The Bourgeoisie are the individuals that own the production means; for example the land, the machinery, raw materials, factories. The Proletariat own little and provide the labor and in so doing, receive wages from the Bourgeoisie. These two classes are dependent on each other since the Bourgeoisie need the Proletariat to produce the goods and services where they receive their profits however, the Proletariat (working class) are paid low wages and are exploited by the Bourgeoisie. Marx argues that eventually the Proletariat will rise up and revolt, creating and developing their own class.
Lastly Max Weber theory of “ideal type” is not something that is real. He uses this methodology of ideal type in determining what makes bureaucracies successful, what they are and what they should be. The theory is used as a measuring stick and is used in any situation where measuring the reality of something against what its purest form should be. Weber theorizes that this bureaucracies operate on five separate levels which are:
1. Division of labor – specific tasks are given to different individuals who may work together but within their...