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SOC231H5 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Class Consciousness, Canada Goose, Class Conflict

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Zaheer Baber
Study Guide

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1. Critically examine the contributions of Hobbes, Rousseau and Mary Wollstonecraft to the
understanding of the origins, structure and characteristics of society.
According to Hobbes, man’s nature lies in seeking power, he has this desire to always
seek more power in which he can never be satisfied. For Hobbes the natural condition
for humanity is equality, in the natural state all men are equal and have the same
opportunities to attain all that they wish for. This is the reason why Hobbes declares that
man is always in a state of war with each other.
If two individuals want the same thing, they will fight each other to attain it. the
consequences of war lead man to live without culture and society, there’s always a
sense of fear and danger.
The fear of falling back into chaos is what forces man to the formation of a social
contract, which states that in order to guarantee security and protection, man has to give
up some of their natural rights to a sovereign authority. Only then can society arise.
The state of nature for Rousseau is that humans are isolated and indifferent to each
other. man has no sense of duty or moral bonds, each man lives for himself and strives
for self-preservation.
Rousseau agrees with Hobbes when he describes the natural man as solitary and
brutish, but since war is a social institution they cannot be in a state of war.
Although man lives separately from each other, they are still able to sympathize even
without language or culture. Man is neither good nor evil in this state, there is no
education and no progress, and in short there is no society.
The physical environment enable man to unite together and adapt to changing
environment in order to thrive, they realize that they could modify the conditions to suit
their needs, in which society began to form out of this
The cultivation of land, domestication of animals, and the division of labor is what
brought upon social inequalities.
Rousseau believed that government was created to protect property (the rich), the
emergence of class, hierarchy and private property is what brought upon war.
Social contract freedom and equality, it is formed by free and equal individuals (premise
of the General will), the new social contract enables the individual to be absorbed into
the general will, without losing his own will
Mary Wollstonecraft
Gender roles are social not natural, women only appear to be inferior because they have
been indoctrinate from infancy with “feminine values”
Refuted Rousseau’s claim towards women and claimed that women deserve equality
with men and should be given the proper education to achieve it.
Wollstonecraft argument focuses on the middle class women. She states that aristocrats
are not able to improve through the means of education because they are weak and
artificial beings, the education of the rich makes them vain and helpless, they only care
about themselves
The oppress work environment that that the poor woman goes through makes it
impossible for her to be educated. Without the servant class, the middle class woman
cannot receive an education, servants are needed to take care of household tasks
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