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Sociology 2270A/B Final: Final Exam (Textbook + Lecture Notes)

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Sociology 2270A/B

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Midterm Exam 2 Textbook Notes THE SOCIAL CONFLICT PERSPECTIVE Karl Marx Economic determinism and social class conflict Most famous work The Manifesto of the Communist Party argues: the history of all existing societies is the history of class conflict / struggle and society divided into two hostile camps / social classes no strong middle class suggested armed revolutions by the lower classes against the upper-classes Social Structural Frameworks the study of large scale structures and processes of society (macrosociology) Basic contradiction: if a society has so many rich people how could so many be so poor and how would this situation change/how can we change this? most profound: critic analysis of contemporary capitalistic societies Mens morality and the society in which he lives in if society is corrupt then the individual is corrupt if society is moral then the individual will be moral clear departure from the Christian premise, society is a factor contributing to deviant behavior Social Conflict perspective emphases: 1. Power who has the power? 2. Conflict - conflict is inevitable, each group is trying to be powerful 3. change as permanent features of society The conflict perspective views society an as arena of inequality generating conflict, the conflict is between: a) social classes (class struggles) b) cultural / ethnic groups c) religious groups d) racial groups e) generations the young and the old Economic Determinism suggests that the institution of economy is the fundamental determinate of the structure of society economy must change first otherwise all the other institutions will suffer economy changes = all other institutions change economy is the most important institution The Dialectic G.W.F. Hegel historical change has been driven by the contradictory understandings that are the essence of reality, our attempts to resolve the contradictions, and the new contradictions that develop Marx fused the two most important elements from these thinkers to create dialectical materialism: Hegels dialectic and Feuerbachs materialism Marx accepted the centrality of contradictions to historical change Said these are real existing contradictions, this led to a method for studying social phenomena: the dialectical The Dialectical Method Fact and value In this method, social values and social facts are not separated Its impossible/undesirable to be dispassionate about what youre studying The best researchers are passionate/committed to their ideas Reciprocal Relations This method does not see a one-way cause-and-effect relationship, one factor may have many effects on the other and visa vera When considering causal relationships, these researchers also look for reciprocal relations Past, Present, Future Dialects are concerned with studying the historical roots of the contemporary world Aware of present social trends, believe the sources of the future exist in the present No Inevitabilities The future is not determined by the present (Hegel) Thesis, antithesis, and synthesis model o Social phenomena (thesis) will eventually spawn an opposing form (antithesis) and that the clash between the two forms will create a new form (synthesis) o Ongoing process between antithesis and synthesis o inadequate for sociological use because there are no inevitabilities, and thus we cannot divide social phenomena into this manner, Marx looked at grand abstractions apposing this idea o he predicted there would be another synthesis with modern industrialized society, however we now know that if you have a strong middle class a revolution is not likely to occur o major forces of change originate in the economy, the exploitative system of capitalism in simple societies, communism is inevitable because it gave way to the division of labor which created many social classes Actors and Social Structures large-scale structures help people fulfill themselves, but also pose a grave threat to humanity interconnects the past, present and future to this in a complexed way Human Potential Marx believed there was a real contradiction between our human potential and the way that we must work in capitalist society Human nature varies historically and socially Species being our human potentials/powers distinguish us from other species Human nature dictates: how society should be sustained and changed Labor and Human Nature What distinguished us from animals? Our species being Objectification our ability to create external objects out of our internal thoughts Labor is. 1. The objectification of our purpose 2. The establishment of an essential relation between human need and the material objects of our need (works to satisfy our needs) 3. The transformation of our human nature Labor encompasses all productive actions where we transform material nature in accordance with our purpose We labor in response to our needs the labor itself transforms our needs, which can lead to new forms of productive activity Satisfaction of needs can create new needs Marx it is the transformation of our needs through labor that is the engine of human history Marx the transformation of the individual and their consciousness through labor and the transformation of society are not separate Alienation Alienation the perverted relation by capitalism of labor and human nature Under capitalism, we no longer see our labor as an expression of our purpose, there is no objectification Labor in capitalism is reduced to a means to an end earning money Used this concept to show the effects of capitalist production on human being and society Has four basic components: 1. Alienation of productive activity Workers dont produce objects according to their needs, but the needs of the capitalists who employ them; alienating workers from certain activities 2. Alienation of the product the product of the workers labor doesnt belong to them no matter how desperate workers are, they cannot use the product to satisfy their needs without purchasing it from the capitalists 3. Alienated from their fellow workers workers are forced to work with strangers, technology increases isolation of workers 4. Alienated from their human potential People are not able to transform/fulfill themselves, they are reduced to working like machines The Structures of Capitalist Society Marxs analysis of alienation was a response to the economic, social, and political changes that were going on around him Wanted to create a society where human potential could be expressed The capitalist economic system is the primary cause of alienation Capitalism is more than an economic system, but a system of power o Political powers have been transformed into economic relations o Capitalism is a political system, way of exercising power, and process for exploiting workers Under capitalism the economy appears to be a natural force, we do not see the social or political decision behind it Commodities Commodities products of labor intended primarily for exchange View was rooted in his materialist orientation Commodities use value objects produced by oneself or others to be used in the immediate environment o Tied to the physical properties of the commodity o Ex: Bread is used to calm hunger Exchange value the objects products are produced and exchanged on the market for money/objects o Not tied to the physical property, and more the need for the commodity Fetishism of Commodities - The commodity becomes an independent, almost external reality Fetish refers to the ways some religious members worship objects that have made as a god Reification implies that people believe social structures are beyond their control and unchangeable Occurs when this belief comes to be a self-fulfilling prophecy Capital, Capitalists and Proletariats Proletariats the workers o Produce goods for the capitalists and are the consumers o Dependent on the capitalists / their wages Capitalists those who own the means of production Capital money that is invested rather than being used to satisfy human needs or desires The two circulations of commodities o Money commodities money buy to sell objective: is to gain capital, not use the product o Money commodities Objective: consumption of the commodity Capital cannot increase without exploiting people who do the work Exploitation a necessary part of the capitalist economy is a naked force - workers needs are satisfied through their wages creates a reserve army of the unemployed if workers are unwilling to meet the needs of the capitalists they will not be employed and replaced with a worker who will surplus value the difference between cost of production and the price of a product o a degree of the exploitation of workers o not used to expand capitalism, but to further expand the surplus value capitalism is driven by competition between capitalists general la
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