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SOCY 122 (211)
Lecture 5

Readings for Week 5 .pdf

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCY 122
Professor
Victoria L Friesen
Semester
Fall

Description
Week 5 Readings 1) Economic Determinism - Refers to monocausal determinism by material, economic factors - Dialectical materialism allows for more flexibility and may even include a feedback mechanism - Closely related is economic reductionism – emphasis is placed on the idea that the economy is closely intertwined with all forms of the culture of consumerism - Economic determinism – equally misleading, one-sided idealist determinism 2) Economic Development - Concerned with how societies have, could, and should pursue improvement in the quality and quantity of life for their inhabitants - The politically and socially important pursuit of economic development continues and involves academics, nation- states, regional and international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and philanthropic foundations. - Economic development theories were largely based on the belief that all societies developed through a set of stages that ultimately would lead to a modern nation- state and industrial economy. 3) Economic Sociology: Classical Political Economic Perspectives - The science of the production, distribution, exchange and consumption of wealth - Divided into two intertwined branches: pure economics as the theory of the market economy and social economics or economic sociology as an analysis of the social-institutional conditions of the economy, including markets - Classical political economy’s perspective on economic sociology examines the influence of social conditions on economic life. - Classical political economy also analyzes the class structure of the economy - Classical political economy also examines the social conditions of production and consumption, such as the impact of the division of labor on economic productivity - Some classical economists also recognize the social and cultural conditions of human preferences or tastes and wants and their variety and change - Marx traces human wants and pleasures to the process of societal formation and historical evolution in that they have their sources in society endowing them with a social nature 4) Bourgeoisie and Proletariat - ‘‘Bourgeois’’ began as a twelfth-century, French, juridical term designating citizens or freemen in a city or burgh. - ‘‘Proletarians’’ origin- ally identified the poorest Roman citizens who had no resources other than their children 5) Capitalism - A noun referring to the funds individuals or corporations use as the basis for financial operations - Representing a system where capital is advanced to increase wealth - Capitalism may refer to an economic, political and/or social system (e.g. feudalism, capitalism, communism), a broad historical period, or specific forms within that period (e.g. mercantile, industrial, finance, monopoly, or late capitalism) - Capitalism is a system that provides for needs and wants, animated by a particular ethos, coordinated and organized by established practices, regulations, and laws, privileging particular types of knowledge (e.g. scientific, technical, and instrumentally rational) - First, capitalism exists when ‘‘the provision of everyday wants’’ is met through capitalist enterprise. The whole economic system would collapse if those enterprises ceased their productive activities - Second, capitalism depends on rational calculation and precise accounting - Third, capitalism presupposes an enduring, predictable legal system - Fourth, capitalism presupposes the presence of individuals ‘‘who are not only legally in the position, but are also economically compelled, to sell their labor on the market without restriction’’ - Finally, capitalism requires the complete commercialization of economic life where the primary goal is gaining and expanding economic advantage while building commercial wealth. - Capitalism requires the personal, internal control of individuals’ actions, along with institutional regulation - Capitalism’s social impact and its analytical ethos provided the substance and form for sociology to develop as an empirically based, theoretic- ally informed, critical discipline 6) Communism - ‘‘Communism’’ is both a principle of social organization advocated since at least the time of ancient Greece, and a modern political movement – associated with the works of Karl Marx (1818–83) and his disciples – that held state power in a number of countries during the twentieth century - The key difference between ‘‘communism’’ and ‘‘socialism’’ is that the abolition of private owner- ship to produce equal distribution was the central prescription of the former, while conscious and rational organization of economic activity to pro- duce abundance is basic to the latter. - Marx harnessed communism to the emerging industrial working class in a historical story of class struggle reaching its ultimate stage in the clash between proletarians and capitalists. - If communism is not a serious model for an alternative social and political system, it remains a moral beacon for those frustrated by rampant individualism and disgusted by the increasing com- modification of life in market societies. 7) Socialism - Socialism refers to those practices and doctrines based on, and emphasizing the benefits of, collective property, social equality, human cooperation and communal forms of economic and political association. - Although Marx never outlined any blueprints for a socialist society, there are three key sources that illuminate his views on the socialist future and the transition from capitalism to socialism. - Socialist feminists, for example, pointed to the gendered assumptions on which many welfare policies were based, and to the very different implications of welfare state policies for working class and middle class women. 8) Industrial Revolution - Rapid increase in the use of machines powered by inanimate forms of energy (waterfalls, wind, coal, oil, or electricity) that be
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