The theoretical works of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber still influence sociological theory. Though their works are decades old they still are a major part of what sociology is today. Though their theories can seem very different, there are some similarities. To become a great sociologist one most learn and understands how to use all sociological perspectives. To do this one must understand and use the different theoretical perspectives created by Marx, Durkheim, and Weber.
Karl Marx theoretical perspective on conflict is by far one the most interesting theories in sociology. Born into a middle class family in Germany, he had a very close relationship with his father. Marx began ...view middle of the document...
Those who control means of production have power over the rest of the society (Morrison, 2006). Marx saw two very different social classes.
The first being the proletariat or those who work who own the means of production. The second class being the Bourgeoisie, or the owners of the means of production (Morrison, 2006). Marx believed that because one group had power over another is the root cause for social issues. When Marx saw the conflict between these two classes, he began to look for an understanding how it began. Marx focused on the change to a capitalistic society, by looking at the history of economic development. Marx believed that the economy went though different economic stages.
He believed that each economic development had their own laws (Morrison, 2006). Marx saw that capitalism began because of industrialization.
Conflict theory allows us to see the conflict between social life and capitalism. Marx saw the power struggle between classes and felt that it is wrong to ignore inequality. One of the biggest inequalities between the two classes was the alienation of the workers (Morrison, 2006). Only one class, the wealthy gains the full benefit of the labor. An example of this is a worker who builds something that they will never be able to afford. Because of this the worker loses control of their production. This is what conflict theory is, the power struggle between two opposing forces. Marx wrote about this in three major works, The Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital, and The German Ideology.
Like Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim theoretic perspective also focuses on the economy. Durkheim wanted to learn the connection between the economic division on labor and the social division on labor. Unlike Marx, Durkheim wanted to see social ties, and social cohesion. Durkheim did not focus on the power struggle like Marx, but more on the understanding of social links as society became more complex (Morrison, 2006). This is the main difference between the two; Durkheim saw society as parts moving together, Marx saw conflict that was causing inequalities.
It is Durkheim who is credited for creating the functionalist perspective. Durkheim grew up in a middle class family with a Jewish upbringing. He lived in a time where there was a deep recession going on though out Europe. Durkheim was greatly influenced from positivism, social realism, and individualist thought (Morrison, 2006). Durkheim first major work was called the Division of Labor. The Division of labor is a process by a group within society, where different members of society keep society moving forward by doing economic and domestic task (Morrison, 2006). Durkheim saw that there were link and bonds formed by these different economic and domestic tasks.
There are two types of link and bonds. The first is the economic and domestic tasks that are done together. The second is the bonds and obligation of individuals that allows expectations to be regulated (Morrison, 2006). Durkheim also...