March 2014

Sociology

Written by Barry Marcus

Sociology is the study of society of the social millions frameworks within which we live our lives.

It is the study of social life at every level from two person relationships to the rise and fall of nations and civilisations. More than any other discipline it is the meeting place of the social sciences combining its own ideas and methods with insights from history, anthropology, economics, political science, and psychology in an extended examination of the way society works or fails to work.

Conflict theory emphasizes the role of coercion and power in producing social order. This perspective is derived from the works of Karl Marx, who saw society as fragmented into groups that compete for social and economic resources. Social order is maintained by domination, with power in the hands of those with the greatest political, economic, and social resources. When consensus exists, it is attributable to people being united around common interests, often in opposition to other groups. (Ashley Crossman)

The Conflict Theory has three components:

>The first component is that conflict is a common and ongoing feature of society. In fact conflict is the most basic feature of social life.

>The second component is that society is made up of various social groups who have conflicting values and interests.

>The third component states that all societal conflict occurs between dominant and subordinate social groups who are in competition over resources.

The “conflict perspective”, was developed in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and is primarily associated with both Karl Marx and Max Weber.

Karl Marx used two groups in the conflict theory. The Capitalist class owns and controls the means of production, while they also see the distribution of the goods or services. The Capitalist class is also known as the dominant group. His second class, the working class, are the people who provide the labour necessary to produce the goods and services. The dominant Group is the capitalists and the subordinate group is the working class. Max Weber also asserted that society is an “arena” of conflict and struggle” over resources between dominant and subordinate groups. But unlike Marx, Weber argues that there are many “status” groups in a society which possess varying degrees of social power. So according to Weber there are many groups, unlike Marx who believed there were two groups, the capitalist and the working class group.

Marxism

Marx’s theories about society, economics and politics – collectively known as Marxism – hold that human societies progress through class struggle: a conflict between an ownership class that controls production and a dispossessed labouring class that provides the labour for production. He called capitalism the “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie,” believing it to be run by the wealthy classes for their own benefit; and he predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, capitalism produced internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system: socialism. He argued that class antagonisms under capitalism between the bourgeoisie and proletariat would eventuate in the working class’ conquest of political power in the form of a dictatorship of the proletariat and eventually establish a classless society, socialism or communism, a society governed by a free association of producers.[8] [9] Along with believing in the inevitability of socialism and communism, Marx actively fought for their implementation, arguing that social theorists and underprivileged people alike should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio-economic change.

Bourgeoisie

Bourgeoisie, the social order that is dominated by the socalled middle class. In social and political theory, the notion of the bourgeoisie was largely a construct of Karl Marx (1818–83) and of those who were influenced by him. In popular speech, the term connotes philistinism, materialism, and a striving concern for “respectability,” all of which were famously ridiculed by Molière (1622–73) and criticized by avant-garde playwrights since Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906).


Proletariat

The lowest or one of the lowest economic and social classes in a society. In the theory of Karl Marx, the term proletariat designated the class of wage workers who were engaged in industrial production and whose chief source of income was derived from the sale of their labour power.

Because of its subordinate position in a capitalist society and the effects of periodic depressions on wages and employment, the proletariat as described by Marxists was usually living in poverty.


Alienation

Amongst Karl Marx’s earliest writings is a piece about alienation. The concept, developed by Marx is the subject of much interest in sociological discussions relating to the human condition and our relationship to society and the workplace.

In Marx’s view, alienation is a symptom of the industrial age and of capitalism. A worker on a production line sees only the part of the work that he is involved with. He has no knowledge or control over the final product that is produced and sold. Man specifically the workman has no relationship with the goods that he is producing. He is alienated from his own labour. He works purely for the money. There is no satisfaction in the work that he does.

The commoditisation of goods has led to increasing levels of alienation. Alienation may extend towards alienation from family, other people and society as a whole.

Marx sees alienation as the separation of a person from his essence his true nature. This alienation is a cause of some concern.

My ideology tells me  to tear it all down. Yet, like everyone else, I’m sucked into a system that offers a mirage of self-improvement