Assignment Community and Family Studies
Date of submission 14-11-2013
Word count 1362
The aim of this study is to compare and contrast Marx and Durkheim’s theories of society and social change.
Compare draw an analogy between one thing and another for the purposes of explanation or clarification: (Anon., 2013)
Contrast the state of being strikingly different from something else in juxtaposition or close association: (Anon., 2013)
In conclusion Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx challenged the aspect of social structure in their works. Emile Durkheim is ...view middle of the document...
Marx understood capitalism very specifically as an economic system in which profit is made by those who own the means of production through using, or exploiting, the labour of those who do not. Profit is realised by those who own the means of production through selling the goods produced on the market for a higher value than they cost to produce. This is achieved by paying the worker less than the true value of their contribution to its final packet price. This can only be achieved when the means of production is concentrated in the hands of a few and the majority of the population own only their own labour which they sell to the capitalists in order to survive.
On the other hand the French sociologist Emile Durkheim (1859-1917) interpreted the social changes that accompanied the Industrial revolution as an increase in the Division of Labour. This refers to the way in which work tasks are divided up and shared out among the working population. Traditional society had very little division of labour as the family or small work group – the village did most of the work necessary to meet survival needs. The work was organised sequentially and each stage was completed before the next was begun. This permitted each employee to advance in the skill set to see the task through from start to finish.
Industrial society brought a shift from handicraft to machined production and from the family work group to the factory – as the unit of production. In order to increase productivity each worker “specialised” in a single aspect of the production process. This advanced division of labour caused concerns that industrial society was individualised with people becoming much focused on their own survival and disassociating from strong social relationships and feelings of obligation to others. Pre-industrial civilization was combined on the basis of similarity, shared responsibilities, skills, values and life experiences. Durkheim’s view was that as people become more specialised occupationally they become more dependent on their fellow citizens. When we have a very thin skill set we must then purchase specialist services from others. In Durkheim’s view social order in an industrialised society depends on an acceptance of difference and co-operation between individuals and groups to the benefit of each individual.
Marx said that in the product of labour the worker is alienated from the product he creates because it is purchased, possessed and finished by someone else. People use their inspiration to create objects which they use to exchange or sell. Marx understood that under capitalism this becomes an alienated activity because the worker can't use the things that he produces to engage in more industrious activity. Marx argued that the alienation of the employee from what he produces is intensified because the products of labour actually start to manipulate the worker. The worker becomes nothing but an addition to a machine. They are consigned to a task and...