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Lecture 2

SOCIOL 2S06 Lecture 2: 2S06 Sociological Theory

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David Young

Introduction to Sociological Theory 2S06 Sep 7, 2016 Forces affecting the development of sociological theory A) Social forces: Political revolutions, The industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism, socialism, Early feminism Political evolutions - 18 century and 19 century - Includes the French and American revolution - These revolutions created greater freedom and democracy - The revolutions also created negative changes: Chaos, and disorder - Early theorist were interested in restoring social order (Aguste Comte, Emile Durkheim) The industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism th th - Late 19 century and early 20 century - Shifted Agricultural society to industrial society - Capitalism and industrial society became “bound” together - Factory owners would profit at the expense of the workers - Negative reactions to these developments: labour movement, radical movements to over throw capitalism all came about *Early social theorist (Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber) were interested in understanding problems associated with the industrial revolution and capitalism* (They lived through the revolution) The rise of Socialism - Emerged to grapple all the problems of capitalism and industrial revolution - Early social thinkers favoured socialism as a solution to these problem (Karl Marx, talked about need to over throw capitalism) - Early theorist that opposed socialism(Durkheim and Weber) recognized the problem of capitalism but thought it best to reform capitalism Early Feminism - Early feminism tried to challenge patriarchal male dominated societies, beginning in 19 century th - Early female theorist included (Harret Martineur, Charlotte Perkins Gilman) Their views were undermined because they were female, - Male theorist didn’t see gender issues as important until late 20 century th Sep 9 Urbanization - Growth of urbanization is partially connected to the industrial revolution, people leaving rural areas - This generated urban problems (overcrowding, pollution, noise, traffic) Religion - Durkheim and Weber were both interested in the analysis of religion (the positive social aspects) - Durkheim argued that religion had the role of establishing solidarity in early societies The growth of science - Natural sciences of physics, biology, and chemistry, those associated with these sciences were recognized with honour and prestige - Comte and Durkheim argued that sociology must be modeled on the successful natural sciences - Weber argued it is impossible to analyse social life in a purely “scientific” way The intellectual forces (that shaped the development of sociology theory) The enlightenment - It is a period of intellectual development and change in philosophic thought during the 17-18 century’s o Ideas of the enlightenment - philosophers of the enlightenment emphasised reason (the human ability to think of things in a logical way), also emphasised the importance of rationality (the use of reason to assess explanations of reality), lastly emphasised empiricism (the use of abboness to described and analysis phenomena) - Philosophers of enlightenment Create logical explanations of reality, then test the explanations against evidence - These theories were the bases for science o Traditional authority - Enlightenment theorist wanted to move beyond non-rational explanations of the world (myth, religion) - Because of this the enlightenment thinkers rejected traditional authority, values, and institution - These thinkers were oriented towards social change The conservative reaction to the Enlightenment - Associated with French Catholic counter-revolutionary philosophy - French catholic philosophers reacted against the enlightenment and the French revolution - French revolution over threw the tradition monarchy and established a republic - These thinkers valued irrational aspects of social life (i.e. tradition, imagination, emotion, religion) - They believed the ideas of the enlightenment were threating to traditional institutions (such as patriarchy, family, monarchy, catholic church) - These thinkers were oriented towards social order The impact of the Enlightenment and the conservative reaction The enlightenment - Under the influence of the enlightenment some forms of sociology developed a focus on being, rational, empirical, scientific, as well as social change The conservative - Some forms of sociology developed a focus on social order The development of French sociology The ideas of Claude Henri de Saint-Simon - A French aristocrat, impacted both conservative theory and radical sociological theory - He largely wanted to maintain/ preserve society as it was - He also however, saw the need for some changed to society because of this he had some radical sense of thought - Believed we can understand social phenomena though empiricism and science (traces of the enlightenment) The ideas of Auguste Comte - French philosopher - He was the first to use the term “sociology” - Sociology means: the science of society - Initially called it social physics then changed to sociology - He was interested in modeling sociology after the natural science (why he coined the term sociology & social physics) - Like there are laws of the natural world (gravity), he believed there were laws in the social world, and sociology had the task of uncovering those laws - He also talked of the law of three stages: this suggest that the social world has gone through 3 evolutionary intellectual stages - 1: the theological stage – this existed before the 1300s, focused on understanding the world though religious - 2: the metaphysical stage – existed between 1300-1800 focused on understanding the world through philosophy - 3: the positive – began in 1800 focused on understanding the world through science (named the positive stage which reflected he’s optimism if understanding the world) - As a result of ^ the term positivism was coined meaning: refers to a system of thought which recognizes only that which can be scientifically verified or logically proved - Social order and Disorder: Comte emphasised the need for social order - In his view, intellectual disorder could result in a lot of social disorder - Since we are still using religion and philosophy to understand the world (when we should be using science) there will be disorder (intellectually) which could create social disorder - i.e. just focus on science Sep 14 The development of French sociology C. introduction to the Work of Emilie - Influenced by the enlightenment, the conservative reaction to the enlightenment and by Comte Influence of the Enlightenment and Comte - importance of science - sociology, should try to similar to the natural sciences - methodology for sociology in The Rules of sociological method (first attempt) - Sociologist should look for patterns or regularities in society (statistics) - Sociologist need to find “objective” data; and we need to engage in looking at cause and effect Introduction to the work of Emile Durkheim 1) Influence of the enlightenment and Comte 2) Influence of the conservative reaction and Comte Comte also believed in social order like the conservative thinkers - Durkheim was interested in how the different parts of society work together to maintain society and there by ensure social solidarity (shows how he was interested in social order) The development of German Sociology A) The ideas of Georg Hegel - A German philosopher, he focused on two key concepts - The first: the Dialectic – a way of thinking and view of the world that stresses the importance of conflicts and contradictions - The idea is that the clashing of the two sides of a contradiction/ conflict something new emerges - The second: Idealism – the importance of the mind and mental products (i.e. ideals) B) The ideas of Ludwig Feuerbach - A German philosopher - He disagreed with Hegel’s idea on idealism - He focused on materialism – the focus on the real material conditions of human existence (opposite of idealism) C) Introduction to the Work of Karl Marx 1. Reaction to Hegel - Marx agreed on the focus of the dialectic, but did not like Hegel’s approach - Hegel applied the Dialectic only to ideas - Marx argued that the Dialectic should apply to material conditions (parts of life) 2. Reaction to Feuerbach - Marx agreed with his focus on materialism but not his approach - Feuerbach: focussed on the material aspects of life in a non-dialectical way - Marx: a dialectical orientation was needed Due to this Marx developed his own approach which he named Dialectical materialism 3) Dialectical materialism - Focuses on Dialectical relationships within the material world - Marx argued that problems in society stem from real material conditions such as capitalism - Solutions to these societal problems must be found in dialectical relationships (e.g. the conflict between capitalist and workers) - He believed that the workers will rise and that conflict will arise something new that will transform society from capitalism to socialism 4) The influence of Political economy - The study of the relationship between the political and the economic aspects of society - Marx was influenced by political economist such as Adam Smith - Marx agreed with ^^ that labour is the source of all wealth - Criticized political economists in two ways: for their general acceptance of capitalism, and their failure to see the inherent conflict between capitalist and workers - In Marx view the political economist had a conservative analysis due to what he didn’t like about them - Capital: A critique of Political economy – Marx’s major work - ****Marx tried to challenge conservative political economy and show other ways so the speak of what they can do **** D) Introduction to the Work of Max Weber - Weber has indicated that he was very much influenced by Marx - It is argued that Weber was influenced by Marx but in the sense that he reacted negatively - It is suggested that Weber engaged in a debate with the ghost of Marx - Marx believed in Class inequality – Weber believed that there was more than just class inequality - Some sociologist that Weber was influenced by Marx in the sense of him reacting positively to Marx - Weber tried in many ways to build on Marx’s ideas (which is clear that in his discussion on some issues they do build off of Marx’s ideas) Understanding Sociological Theory A) Types of sociological theory - Sociologist distinguish between classical and contemporary theory 1. Classical Theory a. Marx, Durkheim, weber b. Early Theorist of gender and “race - Tradition this terms, refers to the ideas of Karl Marx, Emilie Durkheim, and Max Weber - Ideas developed in the late 19 century to the early 20 centuryth - Sociologist have indicated that these men’s works are important because they produced the “foundation” for sociology and sociology theory - Their works in capture the body or “cannon” of conceptual knowledge - Classical theory also refers to the work of previously overlooked early theorist who were not white males Early Theorist of gender and “race” - These early theorist were overlooked but started to be recognized in the late 20 century as sociology gathered more analysis of gender and race **GET Last classes notes sep 16** Sep 21 Some key concepts a) Dialectical or historical materialism (terms used interchangeably) - Addresses class inequality and class struggles (connected to the dialectic) - We have to historically examine inequality in the material production process, but also historically examine the struggles generated by this inequality - Class inequality (contradiction) - Class struggles (conflict) “The history of all hitherto (up to this point in time) existing society is the history of class struggles” – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the communist manifesto B) The base and superstructure - Base: the economic structure of a given society (i.e. capitalism) - Superstructure: noneconomic social institutions in a given society (i.e. legal institutions, political institutions, cultural institutions, religious institutions, and the familial institutions) o Relationship between base and superstructure - According to Marx there is a two way relationship between base and superstructure - The base shapes/effects the superstructure, but the superstructure also effects the base How does the base shape the superstructure? - The base shapes the superstructure base is considered dominate - Economic conditions have a significant impact on social institutions o ^ look at how capitalism has an impact on cultural institutions, for example how media reflects capitalist ideology How does the superstructure maintain the base? - The superstructure will foster certain ideas and engage in certain activities which help maintain the base - An example would be legal institutions in capitalist society, these institutions will value private property (reflecting the value of the capital society) they will do this through laws designed to support the protection of copyright and other things similar to that - ^ there will also be ways of punishing people who try to infringe on these laws C) Concepts connected to production 1) The mode of production - The mode of production: the overall system of economic activity in a society (The base) - Marx suggested that there has been a historically progression in the mode of production (we have moved from one mode to another, i.e. slavery, to feudalism, to capitalis
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