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Sociological Key Figures
September 15 2011
Auguste Comte (1798-1857)
–father of sociology
–positivism: belief in applying the scientific method to the social world
–focused on social statics (order), and social dynamics (change)
–Comte's Law of 3 Stages:
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
–primitive communism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism, and communism.
–Praxis: human beings have always been social beings because we must work in
order to live and the production of the means of subsistence is always a collective
–The Mode of Production of material life determines the general character of the
social, political, and spiritual processes of life.
–Alienation, exploitation, and class struggle
→ 3 types of alienation = product, production, society
→ Class struggle: bourgeois vs proletariat
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
–focus on social order
–2 different patterns of social behaviour
→ mechanical and organic solidarity
–conscious collective and the division of labour
–repressive vs restitute law
–Social Division of Labour:
→ “Sui Generis” or individuals become human in the process of social interaction.
Individuals are objects. Social problem: How best to adapt the individual to “society or
→ assumption: animals = natural/instincts, humans = unlimited desires
→ 3 types of suicide: egotistic (individualism), altruistic (patriotism), anomic
→ solution for anomic suicide = occupational groups and moral education. Some people are
more prone to suicide than others.