SOC231H5 Study Guide - Final Guide: Mary Wollstonecraft, Social Inequality, Labour Power

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15 Apr 2014

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University of Toronto Mississauga – Sociology
Classical Sociological Theory
First Test, 4th February 2014
Instructor: Zaheer Baber
Instructions: Please answer any TWO questions. EACH answer should not be more than
Time Available: Two Hours
1. Critically examine the contributions of Hobbes, Rousseau and Mary Wollstonecraft to
the understanding of the origins, structure and characteristics of society.
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
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)
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
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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
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
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
Lecture Summary
oArgues that humans exists in the conditions of “war of each against all”
oWhen 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.
oSociety 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
oHobbes says that there exists in all men a natural and restless desire for power…this
desire only ceases in death
oHobbes makes another assumption about man’s nature: The natural condition of
humanity is one of equality
oIn the resocial state of nature men are equal faculties of both body and mind
oThe 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.”
oHence the natural state is one in which men are engaged in war- a war of every man
against every man
oThe consequences of such a war are that men live without culture and without society
oIn Hobbes’s view, the sate of nature is one in which force and fraud prevail
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oThe 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
oThe fear of falling back into that stae leafs them to the formation of a social
The origin of society
oWar in the natural state led men to establish a civil state for their mutual security and
Lecture Summary
oRebuttals against Hobbes arguing that humans are isolated from each other
oThere is no society, language and culture in humans “natural state”
oRousseau postulates that since labguage is the product of society, one can safely
conclude that man in nature has noether language nor knowledge.
oHe’s needs are extremely simple and purely physical-food, mate and rest
oWith population growth…the division of labour evolves…this created a society…and
furthermore social inequality
oHere emerged classes, hierarchy and private property…caused struggles and wars
between people
oHe argues that there wars Hobbes speaks of only happen AFTER the emergence of
society not before it was created
View on state of nature
oIn the primitive, natural state, men are isolated from and indifferent to one another.
oWar is a social institution and men learned to make war, Rousseau argued, only in
oMen do not live in society and have no culture
oIt 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
oTwo developments eventually forced men to come together in society:
oIn proportion as the human race grew more numerous, men’s cares increased
oBarren years, long and sharp winters, scorching summers which parched the
fruits of the earth, must have demanded a new industry
oNow men had to unite to coordinate their efforts and they could do so b/c they had the
potential for society
oFamilies formed, and they banded together to form societies
oAs 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
oMan invented culture
oAt that stage there was yet no social inequality
oFor 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
oThe 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
oOnce inequalities came into being, they create greater opportunities for rich than the poor
oStrata and classes emerge; society is now for the first time divided against itself
oRousseau believed that government originated to protect property-ultimately to protect
the rich
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