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soc 2173 mid term

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Western University
Sociology 2173A/B
Terry Biggs

1Unit 11 Background I Mass Society FeudalismCapitalism Feudalism collapsed not just because capitalism was grounded in the individualism and acquitiveness of the merchant class but ALSO due to a change in the way society was organized and in the values and ideas that underwrote that organization as reflected by shift from land based economy to money based economy In other wordsas a result of conflict between ruling ideasland as power vs land as commodity From Land Power to Money Power Middle Ages home as center of productionconsumptionfeudal society became more stableupperclass began wanting more luxuriescraftspeople began producing beyond immediate needsnew class formed entrepreneursbourgeoisie gained leverage through debt provided money for warsindebtedness of aristocracy led to process whereby common land was enclosedsoldland now seen as something acquired with moneymoney gained superiority over landresult CAPITALISMupheaval in distribution of powershape of social relationsthe ideas that propped up these arrangementsThemes of Capitalism 1Accumulation Money can be accumulated by individuals in a way that land cannot Capitalism couldnt come about until it became possible for individuals to accumulate more wealth than necessary to support immediate needs amassing of wealth is both the means by which the capitalist system works and the goal to which it is oriented capitalprofit 2Labor productivity Labor props up the whole system labor produces most of the surplus between use value of commodities and exchangevalue they command in the market place workers who own this resource get the least out of it basic unit of capitalist productioncommodity use value and exchange value capitalists increase use value and exchange value by 1 increasing exchange value by controlling scarcityconvincing people their product is more important than others 2 decreasing costs capitalist only has control over labor costspays workers very little Basic component of capitalism not the commodity but the labor that makes the commodity profitable 3Competition Manufacturers compete among themselves for control of markets they compete with workers to keep wages lowproduction high workers compete with each other for jobs thus aiding in their own disadvantage 4Maximization of profits A capitalist enterprise has to keep expanding or collapse this means either developing new marketsstimulating existing ones a by inventing new needs and the products to fill them b by promoting the concept of fashion c by planned obsolescence building products which are going to wear out in a finite amount of time 5Commodification All facts of society including individuals are seen as products to be boughtsold how 6 1 naturalize status quo 2 constructing a normative system of social identitiesrelations 3 protecting the rights of leadership on the 2bases of merits andor necessity 4 sending message about how well off the proletariat is 5 Displacing blame for social problem onto individual 6 encouraging consumerism enterprise of mass media is not producing cultural materials to sell to public but defining predictable groups of consumers in order to sell them to primary manufacturers as potential customers Relations of Production Economic relations relations between bossworkers provided a model for social relations in general In Feudalism relations of powerorderly hierarchical coercive not open to challenge In capitalism hierarchical coercive less orderly due to competition less stable underwritten by a creed saying success was based on individual meritambitioninequity seen by those at the bottom rungMarxist version of Ideology A set of messages generated by the ruling class which are designed to produce false consciousness thus including those bottom rung folks to cooperate in their own repression oAntonio Gramsi Ideology was simply the world view that constituted the takeforgranted common sense of a given society the values it enriched worked in favor of the elite class dominant ideology elites consciously use ideology to promote their interest BUT their ideas are already in the air to be made use of different subsets of dominant ideology to serve different purposes oNationalist Ideology Builds patriotismendorses the soundness of the political system oConsumerist ideology convinces us that buying stuff is the road to happiness oPatriarchal ideology promotes the idea that women are different from menhave different needsnatures when satisfied they add up to settling for less social power oLiberal ideology promotes the values of freedomindividualismidea that every manwoman in our democratic society has equal opportunity to reach the top implicitly transforms povertysocial problem to personal faults dissuades people from blaming the systemstate Ideology is theoretically naturalcompromises the totality of all values attitudes beliefs that shape a world view Marx used the word ideology to mean a particular set of values attitudes and beliefs that support the interest of the dominant classMarxs thought inspired by 1 political economy and 2 Ideology when the ruling class props up its material ascendancy by means of its intellectual ascendancy
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