SOAN 2040 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Communalism
SchoolUniversity of Guelph
DepartmentSociology and Anthropology
Course CodeSOAN 2040
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Marx, Durkheim, and Weber all provide their own insights on the topic of work in a
classical view, but this reflection will focus on the ideas from just Durkheim and Weber.
Durkheim's theories focus on social structure and controls, while Weber focused on
bureaucracy and rationality. Durkheim was a capitalist that believed in individuals living in a
society functioning for their own gains, yet he did not believe in a laissez-faire, meaning he
believed that everyone had work to contribute to society as a whole, which is a functioning
organization of people. Weber had more communal ideas similar to that of Marx, but still
believed in the individual, in contrast to Marx, who purely saw work as a communal effort.
Weber notes that bureaucracy predates capitalism, and that the bureaucratic ideas of free-
contract and structures of work led up to the advent of capitalism, and many elements of
bureaucracy are used in capitalistic societies. When it came to bureaucracy and the division of
labor, Weber believed bureaucracy was necessary for work to be structured and effective to
advance the society. Durkheim believed in less arbitrary structure to labor, and his idea was
more capitalistic, in that one could rise through classes by working harder or being more
intelligent than those around you, which would lead to larger salaries and higher social classes.
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