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Zaheer Baber

University of Toronto Mississauga – Sociology SOC231H5F Classical Sociological Theory First Test, 4 February 2014 Instructor: Zaheer Baber Instructions: Please answer any TWO questions. EACH answer should not be more than THREE sides, DOUBLE-SPACED. NOAIDSALLOWED TimeAvailable: Two Hours 1. Critically examine the contributions of Hobbes, Rousseau and Mary Wollstonecraft to the understanding of the origins, structure and characteristics of society. Rousseau • Responsible for “society”, concern with how society is possible • Society is isolated (meet and go separate ways) in order to have war and contend to attack, you need connections- do not need power because there is no society • No culture, organized way of doing things • People are individuals, have sex and have children, population growth because of this (division of labor- emerging labor) • Social inequality with emergence of society (women less/more power) emergence of power, hierarchy • War/conflict is the result after emergence of society (power structure controls) • Rousseau writes how society changed (writing 100 years later) different way • Modern society, when collapses (need state to enforce rules) • Not coercive power structure in modern democracy to not cut out individual’s needs, responsive to others needs but not cutting others out • Enlightenment thinker, rational thinker- stumbles in terms of gender roles (waste of time for women to educate themselves, best way to bring up best boy not girl because of biological basis for incapacity of women) Hobbes • Asked how society is possible • Humans use to be in state of nature (attack and get the best that they can, driven to accumulate as much power as they can, aggressive) • Humans need authority, power structure to hold the power over others • We need social contract to have power over us to maintain peace otherwise there will be chaos, too much freedom (society collapses) • Life is nasty, brutish and short • We need power from the top which creates stability and makes social life possible for us • Chaos happens= society breaks Wollstonecraft • Exemplifies Rousseau in saying that women not capable of writing/reading • Unreasonable element (Rousseau view) • Difference in society between female vs. male • Inequality, thinking through abstract way to include all individuals (any class, race, gender) • Gender roles are social not natural, depends on how one does/replicates gender scripts • No thinker is infallible (own experiences) • She says upper class women get education, lower class not capable (unrealistic expectation, rather send lower class to trade schools) • Endorses social inequality for women based on class Hobbes Lecture Summary o Argues that humans exists in the conditions of “war of each against all” o When humans get tired of this “natural state” of fighting for power, they realize they need an authority/social contract to create peace…Here society is created. o Society is possible due to a social contract for an authority, the “Leviathan,” to control all people form tearing each other apart View on state of nature o Hobbes says that there exists in all men a natural and restless desire for power…this desire only ceases in death o Hobbes makes another assumption about man’s nature: The natural condition of humanity is one of equality o In the resocial state of nature men are equal faculties of both body and mind o The condition of fundamental equality among men gives rise in equality of hope in the attainment of their ends o “Therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; ad in the way their End…endeavor to destroy or subdue one another.” o Hence the natural state is one in which men are engaged in war- a war of every man against every man o The consequences of such a war are that men live without culture and without society o In Hobbes’s view, the sate of nature is one in which force and fraud prevail o The single, most important condition that makes Society possible is a “common power to fear”  Wherever and whenever no such common power exists, men revert to a state of nature and war o The fear of falling back into that stae leafs them to the formation of a social contract. The origin of society o War in the natural state led men to establish a civil state for their mutual security and protection Rousseau Lecture Summary o Rebuttals against Hobbes arguing that humans are isolated from each other o There is no society, language and culture in humans “natural state” o Rousseau postulates that since labguage is the product of society, one can safely conclude that man in nature has noether language nor knowledge. o He’s needs are extremely simple and purely physical-food, mate and rest o With population growth…the division of labour evolves…this created a society…and furthermore social inequality o Here emerged classes, hierarchy and private property…caused struggles and wars between people o He argues that there wars Hobbes speaks of only happen AFTER the emergence of society not before it was created View on state of nature o In the primitive, natural state, men are isolated from and indifferent to one another. o War is a social institution and men learned to make war, Rousseau argued, only in society o Men do not live in society and have no culture o It is not society in general that stands opposed to man’s nature but a certain kind of society that divides man against himself. The origin of society o Two developments eventually forced men to come together in society: o In proportion as the human race grew more numerous, men’s cares increased o Barren years, long and sharp winters, scorching summers which parched the fruits of the earth, must have demanded a new industry o Now men had to unite to coordinate their efforts and they could do so b/c they had the potential for society o Families formed, and they banded together to form societies o As they learned to act together they learned to speak and with speech they acquired the ability to accumulate knowledge and pass it on to their children o Man invented culture o At that stage there was yet no social inequality o For that reason Rousseau prefers this period to the natural state in which lonely and natural man never experienced such feelings of vanity and envy; he prefers it also b/c men have not yet become masters and salves o The cultivation of plants, the domestication of animals, and the division of labour generally opened the way to all kinds of social inequalities which appeared for the first time o Once inequalities came into being, they create greater opportunities for rich than the poor o Strata and classes emerge; society is now for the first time divided against itself o Rousseau believed that government originated to protect property-ultimately to protect the rich o War is not a conflict of individual men in a state of nature; it is a social phenomenon o Man makes war as a member of an organized community- his own community against another  He becomes a warrior only after he has become a citizen o Aggression and war also emerge within society and is a result of social inequalities o In opposition to Hobbes, tranquility and peace reigned in the natural state, where plenty, not scarcity, was the rule and thus allowed for perfect equilibrium between man and his environment o To social condition led to inequality, inequality led to war, and war led to civil state. o For Rousseau, man in perfectible o Perfectibility is possible only through society, but man has that potential already in a state of nature o Whatever unity society has is a function of mutual need, coercion and reason o In the society of unequal’s that has now arisen “mutual need” is highly asymmetrical o Rousseau writes, “You need me, for I am rich and you are poor. Let us therefore make a contract with one another…” o Since such a relationship involves elements of coercion, Rousseau replies to Hobbes that this “contract” is absurd and unreasonable o Social unity must be founded on liberty; liberty which include the active submission of the individual to the general will- not to another individual or group o But that is far from being the case, Rousseau argues, in society as it is today o Men are not united by reason of liberty; they are divided by artificial inequalities and are held together by force o The unnatural inequalities, perpetuated by the social institution known as inheritance, soon acquire stability and legitimacy o So man, who began independent and free, now becomes the tool and victim of another o “Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains” o To Rousseau, the problem was to find a form of society in which member would be protected by the united power of the entire political organization and in which each individual, though uniting with others, remains free and equal, obeying nobody but himself. The social contract o All other theorist such as Hobbes, viewed society as a contract which established that State by the subjection of it members o Rousseau in contrast, posits freedom and equality: The social contract was to be formed by free and equal individuals o Rousseau did however allow for certain inequalities in the new society o “Physical inequality” under which he included inequality for property is unavoidable o The State was entitled to interfere only when inequality endangered the moral equality of the citizens o The remedy, was to place limits on the inheritance of wealth  He attacked not poverty as such, but the political and social disfranchisement resulting from it o The new society or social contract enables the individual to be absorbed into the common, general will without losing his own will, b/c in giving himself to the common will he gives himself to an impersonal force o He losses little or nothing and gains in return the assurance tat he will be protected by the full force of society against the encroachment of individuals and groups  He is now a member of society of equals o Rousseau understood that the force of government, though called itself a public force though it professed to represent the general will, could usurp power and act against common good o Government is a constant threat to man’s freedom and yes it is indispensable o Aristocracy may be the best form of government o Aristocracy was to be a government composed of a minority chosen on the basis of age and experience  But even then , those who govern will have to be guided by divine wisdom and patience o Rousseau sees social change as a deliberate and slow process Mary Wollstonecraft o Admired Rousseau but criticized his attitude towards the education of woman o Burke ascribed women’s beauty to their “littleness and weakness” which clearly “prove that one half of the human species, at least, have not souls.” o For Mary this concept of beauty was far from sublime, implying, as it did, that woman should not cultivate such “manly” virtues as they might interfere with the pleasurable sensations women were presumably created to inspire. o From the general injustices of the old regime, she turned her attention to the specific wrongs perpetuated against the female half of the species o That’s standing event is an 18 -century philosophy and science had left the status of woman untouched, and Wollstonecraft recognized that this was partly due to the general submission of woman to prevalent view of them propounded by men o Erroneous and debilitating conceptions of woman could be eliminated, Wollstonecraft believed, by the right kind of education. o Education was the foundation on which woman’s rights could be established Vindication of the rights of women o Wollstonecraft’s main argument and in her rebuttal of Rousseau is that woman deserve social equality with men and should be given the education it necessary to achieve it o Give woman the opportunity to unfolding sharpen the physical and mental faculties, and then we shall see where they stand in the skill of excellence o “I will allow,” go Wollstonecraft, the bodily strength seems to give men and natural superiority over women; and this is the only basis on which the superority of the sex can be built. But I still insist that not only the virtue but the knowledge of two sexes should be the same nature…” o When Rousseau denies to woman the same rigorous physical and intellectual education he proposes for man, the effect is to perpetuate not a natural but an artificial inferiority. o If, therefore, mothers wish to give the daughters a true dignity of character, they should proceed on a plan diametrically opposed to that of Rousseau o The common law of England ruled that whatever property a woman owned before marriage or might receive thereafter became automatically her husband’s. o The wealthy woman, then, with no less subordinate and the poor o Wollstonecraft had a vision of a reformed society in which this of subjection of woman would disappear together the other basic social inequalities o Her proposals for the emancipation of woman presuppose a perpetuation of certain social inequalities o Wollstone
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