SOC 1301 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Scientific Method, Class Conflict, Protestant Work Ethic
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Topic 2: Sociology Theory 1 - Macro-Theory
Two basic MACRO LEVEL theoretical perspectives: Functionalism and Conflict theory
Functionalist: How does a society maintain order, stability, derive consensus, and establish
effeciency (gov, econ, education). Tends to lean towards the right (red state point of view)
Conflict theory: inequality creates conflict. How does a society reduce inequality, shrink gap
between “haves and have nots.” Tends to lean towards the left (blue state point of view)
The “Fathers” of the Field (dead white guys)
-Emile Durkheim - solidarity and suicide
Argued that countries with higher than typical suicide rates were suffering from a
kind of disfunctionality. (Individual problems come from societal disfuntionality)
Societies drawn together by a common enemy are solid. (Anything that draws a
society together, even if it is bad)
Which has more suicide? A country dominately protestant or a country
dominately roman catholic? Answer: protestant; bc there are more denominations
and therefore the people are less connected. Catholic theology is much more
Solidarity produces functionality
-Karl Marx - and the communist manifesto
The harder we (the workers) work, the better they (the bosses) do.
Social theory based on the emergence of capitalists during the industrial
revolution. Grew up during a time where the most valuable resources are in the
hands of the richest people.
Who benefits if the employee works harder? Instead of working 4 days to cover
overhead costs, what happens if the employee finishes in 3 days? The harder the
employee works, the better the boss does.
During this time: no such thing as the protection of workers, no health standards,
people were working themselves to death to try and earn more money; and this
only helped the boss in the long run.
Fix: reducing the level of inequality; there should be negotiation between the
boss/workers. Gives the workers a say in the game.
Inequality produces conflict
Marx argues that the rich man and lazarus sends a terrible message to opressed
workers (the crappier someone’s life is on earth/the more opressed they are,
means that they will more likely get to go to heaven)
Religion legitimates opression