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Chapter 2

SOC400 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Georg Simmel, Thorstein Veblen, W. E. B. Du Bois

Course Code
Brown, Cliff

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Friday, September 1, 2017
Chapter 2-Thinking About and Researching the Social
Theorizing the Social World
-Theories are sets of interrelated ideas that have a wide range of applications, deal
with centrally important issues and have stood the test of time
-Sociological theories are necessary to make sense of both the innumerable social
phenomena and the many highly detailed findings of sociological research
-Without such theories, we would have little more than knowledge of isolated bits of
the social world
Karl Marx
-He defined capitalism as an economic system based on the fact that one group of
people-the capitalists-owns what is needed for production, including factories,
machines, and tools
-Proletariats or workers, owns little or nothing except their capacity for work and
labor. In order to survive the workers must sell their labor time to the capitalists in
exchange for wages
-In Marx’s view, the capitalist system is marked by exploitation
-In addition, the workers experience alienation in the workplace because:
the work they do is not a natural expression of human skills, abilities, and creativity
they have little or no connection to the finished product
instead of working harmoniously with their fellow workers, they may have little or no
contact with them and compete with them to compete their jobs
Max Weber
-He was more interested in the broader phenomenon of rationalization, or the
process by which social structures are increasingly characterized by the most direct
and efficient means to their ends
-Had a strongly negative view of rationalization, saying it was increasingly difficult for
people to escape the process (“iron cage”). In addition, s action comes to be guided
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