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McMaster University
David Young

Fox 1 Lecture 2 SOCIOL 2S06 Thursday September 12, 2013  Understanding Sociological Theory:  Classical Theory: refers to the ideas that were developed in the writings of Karl Marx, th th Max Weber and Emile Durkeim = developed in the late 19 century or early 20 century = considered to be the foundational texts in sociology = body of conceptual knowledge that all sociologists have to know = “The Canon”  Contemporary Theory: refers to ideas that were developed after the writings of Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkeim = try to build on the canon (classical theorists) th  The writings that make up contemporary theory: early or mid 20 century – present  Writings of various theorists examples: Talbott Parsons (structural functionalism) & George Hurbert Mead (symbolic interactionism)  3 Objectives in Studying Sociological Theory: 1) Understanding ideas in classical and contemporary theory 2) Grasping the impact of theorists lives on their ideas (biographical sketches on theorists->theoretical ideas) st 3) Seeing the relevance of theorists ideas to the 21 century (still can be used to analyze social conditions in today’s society)  Contemporary theorists are dead but ideas still live on  Karl Marx: Biographical Sketch of Marx: Early Years:  Born in 1818 in Prussia (now Germany)  His father was a lawyer of Jewish background  Marx spent a lot of time listening to his father and his friends having discussions  Exposed to egalitarianism (equality & freedom)  Marx developed optimistic views about the nature of humanity and the potential of civilization to progress Fox 2 Lecture 2 University Education:  1835 = Marx enrolled as a law student at the University of Bown (?)  Spent a lot of time drinking, fighting and even got arrested  His father persuaded Marx to transfer to the university of Berlin  He became interested in the philosophy of Hegel and lost interest in law  Switched his major to philosophy  Got a PHD in philosophy in 1841 Seeking Employment:  Wanted to be a professor of philosophy but the ministry of education in Berlin bl
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