Sociology Lecture Notes 2

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Comte, Auguste (1798-1857)

1.) the theological - man views nature as having a will of its own. This stage also contains
three stages. (i) animism: objects have their own will, (ii) polytheism: divine wills impose
themselves on objects and (iii) monotheism: the will of God imposes itself on objects.
(2) metaphysical - thought substitutes abstractions for a personal will. Here, causes and forces
replace desires. The world is one great entity in which Nature prevails.
(3) positive - the search for absolute knowledge, the first cause, is abandoned. In such a
scheme, each stage corresponds to a specific form of mental development. There is also a
corresponding material development.

Excerpt from Positive Philosophy (1830-42)

"The Positive Philosophy offers the only solid basis for that Social Reorganization which must
succeed the critical condition in which the most civilized nations are now living.... It alone has
been advancing during a course of centuries throughout which the others have been declining.
The fact is incontestable. Some may deplore it, but none can destroy it, nor therefore neglect it
but under penalty of being betrayed by illusory speculations. This general revolution of the
human mind is nearly accomplished. We have only to complete the Positive Philosophy by
bringing Social phenomena within its comprehension, and afterward consolidating the whole into
one body of homogeneous doctrine. The marked preference which almost all minds, from the
highest to the commonest, accord to positive knowledge over vague and mystical conceptions, is
a pledge of what the reception of this philosophy will be when it has acquired the only quality
that it now wants--a character of due generality. When it has become complete, its supremacy
will take place spontaneously. and will re-establish order throughout society." click for more...
[Law of human progress.]
From the study of the development of human intelligence, in all directions, and through all times,
the discovery arises of a great fundamental law, to which it is necessarily subject, and which has
a solid foundation of proof, both in the facts of our organization and in our historical experience.
The law is this:--that each of our leading conceptions each branch of our knowledge--passes
successively through three different theoretical conditions:: the Theological, or fictitious; the
Metaphysical, or abstract; and the Scientific, or positive. In other words, the human mind, by its
nature, employs in its progress three methods of philosophizing, the character of which is
essentially different, and even radically opposed: viz., the theological method, the metaphysical,
and the positive. Hence arise three philosophies, or general systems of conceptions on the
aggregate of phenomena, [26] each of which excludes the others. The first is the necessary point


of departure of the human understanding; and the third is its fixed and definite state. The second
is merely a state of transition.
{First Stage}
In the theological state, the human mind, seeking the essential nature of beings. the first and final
causes (the origin and purpose) of all effects--in short, Absolute knowledge--supposes all
phenomena to be produced by the immediate action of supernatural beings.
{Second Stage}
In the metaphysical state, which is only a modification of the first, the mind supposes, instead of
supernatural beings, abstract forces, veritable entities (that is, personified abstractions) inherent
in all beings, and capable of producing all phenomena. What is called the explanation of
phenomena is, in this stage, a mere reference of each to its proper entity.
{Third Stage.}
In the final, the positive state, the mind has given over the vain search after Absolute notions, the
origin and destination of the universe, and the causes of phenomena, and applies itself to the
study of their laws--that is, their invariable relations of succession and resemblance. Reasoning
and observation, duly combined, are the means of this knowledge. What is now understood when
we speak of an explanation of facts is simply the establishment of a connection between single
phenomena and some general facts, the number of which continually diminishes with the
progress of science.

Spencer, Herbert (1820-1903),
Excerpt from The Principles of Sociology, Vol. 1 (1876)

" Society is an organism... It undergoes continuous growth; as it grows, its parts, becoming
unlike, exhibit increase of structure; the unlike parts simultaneously assume activities of unlike
kinds; these activities are not simply different, but their differences are so related as to make one
another possible; the reciprocal aid thus given causes mutual dependence of the parts; and the
mutually dependent parts, living by and for one another, form an aggregate constituted on the
same general principle as an individual organism. The analogy of a society to an organism
becomes still clearer on learning that every organism of appreciable size is a society; and on
further learning that in both, the lives of the units continue for some time if the life of the
aggregate is suddenly arrested, while if the aggregate is not destroyed by violence its life greatly
exceeds in duration the lives of its units. Though the two are contrasted as respectively discrete
and concrete, and though there results a difference in the ends subserved by the organization,


there does not result a difference in the laws of the organization: the required mutual influences
of the parts, not transmissible in a direct way, being transmitted in an indirect way.

Durkheim, Emile (1858-1917)

definition of suicide: "the term suicide is applied to all cases of death resulting directly or
indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knows will produce this
result" (1982, p. 110 [excerpt from Suicide]). Durkheim used this definition to separate true
suicides from accidental deaths.
Egoisitic suicide resulted from too little social integration. Those individuals who were not
sufficiently bound to social groups (and therefore well-defined values, traditions, norms, and
goals) were left with little social support or guidance, and therefore tended to commit suicide on
an increased basis. An example Durkheim discovered was that of unmarried people, particularly
males, who, with less to bind and connect them to stable social norms and goals, committed
suicide at higher rates than unmarried people.

The second type, Altruistic suicide, was a result of too much integration. It occurred at the
opposite end of the integration scale as egoistic suicide. Self sacrifice was the defining trait,
where individuals were so integrated into social groups that they lost sight of their individuality
and became willing to sacrifice themselves to the group's interests, even if that sacrifice was their
own life. The most common cases of altruistic suicide occurred among members of the military.

On the second scale, that of moral regulation, lies the other two forms of suicide, the first of
which is Anomic suicide, located on the low end. Anomic suicide was of particular interest to
Durkheim, for he divided it into four categories: acute and chronic economic anomie, and acute
and chronic domestic anomie. Each involved an imbalance of means and needs, where means
were unable to fulfill needs.

Each category of anomic suicide can be described briefly as follows:
Acute economic anomie: sporadic decreases in the ability of traditional institutions (such
as religion, guilds, pre-industrial social systems, etc.) to regulate and fulfill social needs.
Chronic economic anomie: long term dimunition of social regulation. Durkheim
identified this type with the ongoing industrial revolution, which eroded traditional social
regulators and often failed to replace them. Industrial goals of wealth and property were
insufficient in providing happiness, as was demonstrated by higher suicide rates among
the wealthy than among the poor.
Acute domestic anomie: sudden changes on the microsocial level resulted in an inability
to adapt and therefore higher suicide rates. Widowhood is a prime example of this type of


Chronic domestic anomie: referred to the way marriage as an institution regulated the
sexual and behavioral means-needs balance among men and women. Marriage provided
different regulations for each, however. Bachelors tended to commit suicide at higher
rates than married men because of a lack of regulation and established goals and
expectations. On the other hand, marriage has traditionally served to overregulate the
lives of women by further restricting their already limited opportunities and goals.
Unmarried women, therefore, do not experience chronic domestic anomie nearly as often
as do unmarried men.

The final type of suicide is Fatalistic suicide, "at the high extreme of the regulation continuum"
(1982, p. 113). This type Durkheim only briefly describes, seeing it as a rare phenomena in the
real world. Examples include those with overregulated, unrewarding lives such as slaves,
childless married women, and young husbands. Durkheim never specifies why this type is
generally unimportant in his study.

Durkheim felt that his empirical study of suicide had discovered the structural forces that caused
anomie and egoism, and these forces were natural results of the decline of mechanical solidarity
and the slow rise of organic solidarity due to the division of labor and industrialism. Also of
importance was Durkheim's discovery that these forces affected all social classes.

This is where the true sociological value of Suicide emerges. Because social forces that affect
human behavior are the result of previous human actions, it is the role of sociology to expose and
understand these actions as the foundations of societal structure. These structural phenomena are
at the root of human society, and through scientific, statistical methods -- integrated with
informed theory and educated conjecture -- the function of these structures can be
comprehended. In other words, Suicide is a vital work because it is the first effective
combination of sociological theory and empiricism to explain a social phenomenon.

Two types of Societal solidarity
a) Mechanical - commonness; similar tasks
b) Organic - different tasks; division of labor

"Social life comes from a double source, the likeness of consciences and the division of social
(Durkheim, 1933, p.226)

Mechanical Solidarity - Social cohesion based upon the likeness and similarities among
individuals in a society, and largely dependent on common rituals and routines. Common among
prehistoric and pre-agricultural societies, and lessens in predominance as modernity increases.


Organic Solidarity - Social cohesion based upon the dependence individuals in more advanced
society have on each other. Common among industrial societies as the division of labor
increases. Though individuals perform different tasks and often have different values and
interests, the order and very survival of society depends on their reliance on each other to
perform their specific task.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Excerpt from The Communist Manifesto (1848):

"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave,
patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and
oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden,
now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at
large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes....
It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their
views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the spectre of communism with
a manifesto of the party itself....
In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing
social and political order of things. In all these movements, they bring to the front, as the leading
question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.
Finally, they labor everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all
countries. The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that
their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the
ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their
chains. They have a world to win.
Working men of all countries, unite!"
Dialectical materialism

Lenin put it most simply and clearly when he said: The essence of the dialectic "is the cognition
of the one and its division into antagonistic parts." That is the dialectical law of the unity of
opposites. Or as Trotsky put it, the evolution of all things "proceeds through the struggle of
antagonistic forces; that [is] a slow accumulation of changes at a certain moment explodes the
old shell and brings about a catastrophe, revolution ..."


Max Weber
I: Characteristics of Bureaucracy
I. There is the principle of fixed and official jurisdictional areas, which are generally ordered by
rules, that is, by laws or administrative regulations.
1. The regular activities required for the purposes of the bureaucratically governed structure are
distributed in a fixed way as official duties.
2. The authority to give the commands required for the discharge of these duties is distributed in
a stable way and is strictly delimited by rules concerning the coercive means, physical,
sacerdotal, or otherwise, which may be placed at the disposal of officials.
3. Methodical provision is made for the regular and continuous fulfilment of these duties and for
the execution of the corresponding rights; only persons who have the generally regulated
qualifications to serve are employed.
In public and lawful government these three elements constitute 'bureaucratic authority.' In
private economic domination, they constitute bureaucratic 'management.' Bureaucracy, thus
understood, is fully developed in political and ecclesiastical communities only in the modern
state, and, in the private economy, only in the most advanced institutions of capitalism.
Permanent and public office authority, with fixed jurisdiction, is not the historical rule but rather
the exception. This is so even in large political structures such as those of the ancient Orient, the
Germanic and Mongolian empires of conquest, or of many feudal structures of state. In all these
cases, the ruler executes the most important measures through personal trustees, table-
companions, or court-servants. Their commissions and authority are not precisely delimited and
are temporarily called into being for each case.

Types of Authority
Weber distinguished three main modes of claiming legitimacy. Authority may be based on
rational grounds and anchored in impersonal rules that have been legally enacted or contractually
established. This type is rational-legal authority, which has increasingly come to characterize
hierarchical relations in modern society. Traditional authority, on the other hand, which
predominates in pre-modern societies, is based on belief in the sanctity of tradition, of "the
eternal yesterday." It is not codified in impersonal rules but inheres in particular persons who
may either inherit it or be invested with it by a higher authority. Charismatic authority, finally,
rests on the appeal of leaders who claim allegiance because of their extraordinary virtuosity,
whether ethical, heroic, or religious.
From Coser, 1977:226-227.


The German sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies (1855-1936) was a major contributor to theory and
field studies in sociology. [1] He is best remembered for his distinction between two basic types
of social groups. [2] Tonnies argued that there are two basic forms of human will: the essential
, which is the underlying, organic, or instinctive driving force; and arbitrary will, which is
deliberative, purposive, and future (goal) oriented. Groups that form around essential will, in
which membership is self-fulfilling, Tonnies called Gemeinschaft (often translated as
community). Groups in which membership was sustained by some instrumental goal or definite
end he termed Gesellschaft (often translated as society). Gemeinschaft was exemplified by the
family or neighborhood; Gesellschaft, by the city or the state. [3]

Georg Simmel
"For Simmel, society is made up of the interactions between and among individuals, and the
sociologist should study the patterns and forms of these associations, rather than quest after
social laws." (Farganis, p. 133). This emphasis on social interaction at the individual and small
group level, and viewing the study of these interactions as the primary task of sociology makes
Simmel's approach different from that of the classical writers, especially Marx and Durkheim.
It is Simmel's attempt to integrate analysis of individual action with the structural approach that
make his writings of contemporary interest.
Simmel began his inquiries from the bottom up, observing the smallest of social interactions and
attempting to see how larger-scale institutions emerged from them. In doing so, he often noticed
phenomena that other theorists missed. For example, Simmel observed that the number of parties
to an interaction can effect its nature. The interaction between two people, a dyad, will be very
different from that which is possible in a three-party relationship, or triad. (Farganis, p. 133)
As the group grows in numbers and extends itself spatially, "the group's direct, inner unity
loosens, and the rigidity of the original demarcation against others is softened through mutual
relations and connections." (Farganis, p. 140). This implies much greater possibility of individual
freedom and flexibility, with the common culture and form of association greatly weakened.

Philosophy of Money. Simmel's major work concerns money and the social meaning of money.
In this book Simmel is concerned with large social issues, and this book can be thought of as on
a par with The Division of Labour of Durkheim, although not as extensive and thorough as
Marx's Capital or Weber's Economy and Society. In this book, Simmel is concerned with money


as a symbol, and what some of the effects of this are for people and society. In modern society,
money becomes an impersonal or objectified measure of value. This implies impersonal, rational
ties among people that are institutionalized in the money form. For example, relations of
domination and subordination become quantitative relationships of more and less money --
impersonal and measurable in a rational manner. The use of money distances individuals from
objects and also provides the means of overcoming this distance. The use of money allows much
greater flexibility for individuals in society -- to travel greater distances and to overcome person-
to-person limitations.
Simmel thus suggests that the spread of the money form gives individuals a freedom of sorts by
permitting them to exercise the kind of individualized control over "impression management"
that was not possible in traditional societies. ... ascribed identities have been discarded. Even
strangers become familiar and knowable identities insofar as they are willing to use a common
but impersonal means of exchange. (Ashley and Orenstein, p. 326)

Sir Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917)

Considered to be the "father" (or founder) of anthropology (which was sometimes called "Mr.
Tylor's science" in his day)

* Defined culture as "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law,
custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."

Believed we could reconstruct the past through the study of "survivals"--fossilized forms of
behavior carried over from earlier stages of development

He believed that prehistoric peoples developed the idea of soul as a rational explanation for the
natural experiences of sleep, dreaming, sickness, and death
* He identified animism--the belief in souls--as the first stage in the evolution of religion,
which then progressed from polytheism to monotheism.

Tylor believed that people were essentially rational and learned from their experiences; this led
to the progress of societies or evolution.
* To Tylor, the purpose of anthropology was to reconstruct the evolution of culture, from
primitive beginnings to the modern state
* He sought to reconstruct cultural evolution through the use of the comparative method, which
involved identifying contemporary societies as "survivals" of past stages of development


William Graham Sumner, (1840-1910)
"the value of anything is not what
you paid for, not what it cost to produce, but what
you can get for it at an auction."
-He opposed any governmental interference in the
free-market economy, whether in the form of tariffs to
help business or anti-trust laws to restrain them.

Alfred Radcliffe-Brown (1881-1955, Britain)

Alfred Radcliffe-Brown is credited with Structural Functionalism, which analyzes particular
social systems in a wider context of many different societies. Radcliffe-Brown was concerned
with what keeps societies from falling apart. He identified similar customs in different societies
and compared them in order to discover the customs' inherent functions. Through this
comparative method, he attempted to explain underlying principles that preserve the structure of
each society.

Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)

The book of Engels (the origin...) was published at Hottingen-Zurich in 1884 which contained
Marx's numerous remarks on Morgan. It focuses on early human history, following the
disintegration of primitive community and the emergence of a class society based on private
property. He also looked into the origin and essence of the state and concludes it is bound to
wither away leaving a classless society.

Thorstein Veblen

The Theory of the Leisure Class

First the creation of the leisure class, or a class that is exempt from industiral labor, is explained,
and is followed through the stages of societal development. We follow the change from a
meritous rise to the leisure class in primative society-- due to a person's prowess at animistic,
aggressive activity, such as hunting-- to the view that the status itself is the merit, not the reward
for merit. Conspicuous leisure and conspicuous consumption become the badge of the


gentleman, who must prove his worth by showing to the community that he has no need to
participate in labor. Labor becomes vulgar, the purview of lower classes. The leisure class
provides evidence of their superiority by conspicuous waste.

Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942)
compelled anthropology out of the armchair advocated participant observation, learning the
language--the modern methods of ethnography