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Dalhousie University
Soc & Social Anthropology
SOSA 3401
Jean- Sebastian Guy

September 18, 2013 Difference between today’s society and past  Medical and technological advancements  Access to resources and opportunities  Ability to communicate in a global context too  Quality of life has increased  Is it really that different despite how much more we have?  Gender roles and ideologies have become more egalitarian  Capitalism is more prevalent, has increased competitiveness  Secularization is more common, focus on equality and a concept of “choosing for yourself”  We are a consumer society as opposed to a society focused on meeting basic needs September 25, 2013 Karl Marx Capitalism According to Karl Marx  Need to know difference between feudalism and capitalism o Agrarian society and industrial society  Thought we had to move away from ideas (philosophy) and move to studying practice  Capitalist economy is about exchange, circulation of goods o For Marx, he talks about production: how do human beings produce what they need to stay alive o Materialism is what we need, the materials that will allow us to survive  Infrastructure and ideology is the basic understanding of why/how people work together to get the materials they need o Ideology = forms of consciousness  Things we think, talk or wonder about  This is a secondary affect of infrastructure o Infrastructure is how we set up a mode of production, the raw materials we use to produce  He had a full scale philosophy of history o Everything is link, going in the same direction, the same story o Human history has a sequence that follows logical steps  As we go through different stages in growing (modes of production)  There is a class structure that ultimately society is triggered by class struggle Define Capitalism  Allows for pursuits of self-interests  Encourages competition  Survival of the fittest  Breeds inequality and class division o Bourgeoisie and proletariat  This is what Marx outlined at the most important aspect  Needs become commodities in order to be obtained  There is a belief in mobility  There is a vulnerability/insecurity  It is unregulated  Promotes capital rather than promoting satisfaction  Has an element of constant imperialism  Private Property o This is the cause of bourgeoisie and proletariats October 2, 2013 How to calculate value (exchange) of a commodity according to Mark?  Value is determined by labour time used in producing it o The longer it takes to produce, the higher the value How to calculate wages according to Marx?  Labour is a commodity and is considered labour power  Need to pay the value of the labour power  Need to pay the minimum to sustain the labour and allow it to reproduce o Need to pay someone enough so they can eat, sleep properly and clothe themselves so they can come back to work and reproduce the next generation of labour How to calculate profit according to Mark?  Need to calculate expenses (wage), means of production (tools/resources to produce)  Decide on an exchange value  Subtract expenses from revenue of sales  The worker produces more than his own value o The wages a worker receives is less than the exchange value of the commodity **everything is calculated in terms of time Simple exchange = commodity-money-commodity  Bring commodity to market and barter it for money  Use money to buy a different commodity  No value is being created, money and commodities are only being circulated Capitalist exchange = money-commodity-money’  In the business to make money  Start with capital and use it to buy tools, and labour (acquire commodities)  Go back to market to exchange commodity for more money Note* There is a different between the value of a worker (wage) and the value produced by the worker (the value of the product he makes) Absolute surplus value  Force workers to work longer hours to produce more surplus value after 1 day of work  Paid for the same hours as before Relative surplus value  Decrease the value of labour power  Don’t try to manipulate the length of the work day  Work with the salary instead – try to decrease the value of the employee o Don’t worry about paying to sustain the employee, just pay for what the worker produces; not how much time is necessary to produce you (sustain) **Marx looked away from the market and into the factory because he wanted to know about production Marx’s explanation for the fall of Capitalism  It can’t NOT exploit the proletariat because then the bourgeoisie will not benefit  But this undermines itself because destroying (exploiting) the proletariat will destroy the system because it can’t function without them  There will be no more private property after capitalism because there will be no private ownership and this will mean no class distinction  Crises are natural under the system, and Marx expected crises Communism in Reality  USSR was first place to try to live out Marx’s revolution  What actually happened: o Lenin led the worker’s revolt but then he died and Stalin took over and led the country into a dictatorship Politics and Economy of Communism  No difference between politics and economy because it is all in the hands of the state o Politics controls everything, no supply and demand, no fluctuating market  The state is one party versus a multi-party system o No competition  State ideology is Marx’s theory and they already know it is “right”, there is no alternative way of thinking…. In terms of society and social sciences… no one can challenge the dominant group who decides the truth about anything o Autonomous scientific research doesn’t know the truth and this is what motivates us. The more we know about truth, the more we have questions about it. October 16, 2013 See blackboard for flowcharts on Durkheim’s’ ideas Emerging properties = social facts Effervescence = a state of collective excitement, excitement that only comes from being with others… ex. Concerts, church, sports events… Constraints = people want the constraints so they know how to act and to keep order, constraints depend on what group you are apart of October 23, 2013 Durkheim’s analysis of the Division of Labour  Social solidarity is a group with a common cause working together to achieve their goal o A unity  Everything begins with solidarity  Morality is always an indication of social life o Direct relation between social rules and moral rules  The nature of solidarity o Small groups have a mechanical solidarity  Mechanical means sameness, in activities, values…  The activities reinforce that you are doing the same thing at the same time as someone else… if there were not these activities then there would be no group o Large groups have an organic solidarity  This is interdependence  People are no longer the same or interchangeable  Interdependence is a type of solidarity  Each person in society plays a different role that is required so others can perform their role  Social facts are required actions as deemed by groups o Comparable to norms o Has a moral component (what you think you’re supposed to do) and a practical component (what you actually end up doing)  Constraining** -> idea that we are propelled on a trajectory that we do not want to deviate from o Belonging to a group causes you to be invested in their activities and you are put on a trajectory o You would be more constrained in a mechanical setting  If Collective Conscious is weaker, then you imply that people are more different from each other  Argument for cultural relativism -> there is variation between societies and we cannot compare different types of groups o Different societies have different D.O.L and organization and “advancement” is relative o All societies are progressing from low to high level of DOL  Externalization -> when social facts feel as though they are coming outside of you because you are a member of society o There is an overlap here with constraint*  DOL is not only a group with different roles but that we want it this way Durkheim on Social Problems  He wanted sociology as the science of society to be useful for society. He thought sociologists should advise political leaders on how to address social problems and improve social life  He thought that sociology should have a practical application  Thought we have to work with the constitution of the society to figure out what the social problems truly are  What is Normal for one society is Pathological  Society is akin to one organism in that it maintains its own unity  Analogy between social problems and health problems: they signal a disruption of the normal activities* of a society as one organism o *Normal for that society  What is normal or pathological can be distinguished by grouping societies depending on their level of DOL  Social problems can also be identified statistically o Eg. If the unemployment is 10% for most industrial societies, then it is normal…. But if it goes up to 20% then it becomes pathological The case of Suicide  Durkheim saw that the suicide rate was the same every year, and he believed it was a social phenomenon rather than a social problem  He found it to be less individualistic than most people see it… not just an act of one person o Social factors always play a role no matter how isolated and desperate the act looks from a distance  ** The regularity of suicide rates is a social phenomenon (a social fact) while out-of-the-norm rates indicate a social problem
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