Different Views Essay

1548 words - 7 pages

Spencer’s major contribution to sociology was an evolutionary perspective on social order and social change. Spencer’s theory, “ The Theory of General Evolution” basically stated that society like a biological organism has various interdependent parts that work together to ensure the stability and survival of the entire society. He like Charles Darwin believed in survival of the fittest, so much so that his view was often called Social Darwinism. He believed that the most fit, would survive whereas the unfit would eventually die out and be filtered out of the society. There were several flaws with this idea though, people are not like animals, they can work to change their situations. In ...view middle of the document...

A social fact is a way of thinking that exists outside the individual but controls each person. For example, an upper class family switching homes for a year with a family who lives in rural farmland. Now the man of the upper class family isn’t worried about how his car looks compared to his neighbors he is worried if his crops will do all right in the summer. The poor man is now worried by appearances, when before he was worried about getting food for his family. Durkheim believed that social facts must be explained by other social facts. He has been viewed as an advocate of the scientific approach to examining social facts outside the individual. He’s also described as the founding figure of the functionalist theoretical tradition. Spencer and Durkheim both emphasized that sociology should be a science based on observation of social facts rather than individual traits.
Durkheim was a functionalist who analyzed on the macro level. A functionalist is someone who assumes that society is a stable, orderly system characterized by societal consensus. According to this perspective, a society is composed of interrelated parts that serve functions such as contributing to the stability of society. However, this stability is threatened by dysfunctional facts like famine or economic loss, thus putting a strain on society and causing an increase of unfavorable actions such as crime and suicide.
Karl Marx believed something entirely different from Durkheim and Spencer. He believed that history is a continuous clash between conflicting ideas and forces. He believed that class conflict is necessary in order to produce social change and better society. From his view point the capitalist class controls and exploits the masses of struggling workers by paying less than the value of their labor. This resulted in the workers feeling powerless. He predicted that the working class would see this and overthrow the capitalists and establish a classless society. As we can see today, that has never happened in society, there has always been a division of labor between the working and upper class. Today, Marx is regarded as one of the most profound sociological thinkers because he combined ideas from other areas of interest such as philosophy, into a new theoretical configuration. Yet, he believed that society should not only be studied, but changed as well since the status quo was usually a small group of wealthy people oppressing the majority of the society. I believe with others who say he puts to much focus on class standing. Also, I disagree with him wanting to change factors in the society, once that happens you are no longer monitoring the society you are having a direct influence on the way things will be run. And that defects the purpose of coming up with theories based on the observation of the society.
Weber emphasized that sociology should be value free-conducted in a scientific manner and should exclude the researchers personal values. He was similar...

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