Seminar Essay

990 words - 4 pages

The "big 3" in sociological theory are Durkheim, Weber, and Marx. Discuss how each of these theorists differed in their views on the key drivers of social change in modern societies.Each of the three theorists developed their ideas in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. Despite the fact that each of these people witnessed a world in which capitalism grew to become the dominant and controlling system of economics, all three men developed separate and unique explanations for how societies form around individuals' reactions. The classical sociologists Marx, Durkheim, and Weber were the first to explore the relationship between the economy and society in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As will be detailed, Marx viewed the economy as the base that determines the social superstructure; Durkheim viewed the economy as one of a number of social institutions that make up a society, whereas Weber viewed the economy in part as an extension of religious belief.Karl MarxAccording to the text, Marx's work is based on the feedbacks from the economic and social conditions. These facets all began from the Industrial Revolution. Throughout Marx's work, he shows that he not only wants to interpret things taking place in the world but also change it (p. 23). Marx focuses mainly on two aspects within all of his materialistic dialectic, which are economic classes and forces of production. The means of production initially leads to the variances in class status. One main person that influenced Marx's theory is Adam Smith, dealing with laissez-faire capitalism. This is the economic system based on the individual competition for markets. Many people consider Marx an economist and activist. Marx believes that society is not a happy place and everybody is constantly conflicting. He is very critical of the whole subject on capitalism and believes that it is unjust. His idea is that the working class will overpower the middle class and will no longer be oppressed (p. 25). For Marx, history is dependent on the existence of human beings, who produce their own means of subsistence, and the resulting means of production determines their way of life. Marx claims that social and political structures are derived from the economic means of production. Consciousness is also determined by the means of production; therefore, all ideology derived from consciousness is part of the social superstructure. The economic base of a society, which includes the division of labor, determines this entire social superstructure.Emile DurkheimDurkheim, on the other hand is considered to be one that looks at society in a scientific way (p. 79). He believes that the members of a community are all in consensus with one another. Everybody wanted the same goals and attitudes. For example, much of society wanted to work hard, have a good job and children. Institutions like the family, education, and liberal system all meshed together very well to create a functioning society. Durkheim is...

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