Theory1 - Introductio n to Social Theory Excerpts from...

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Introductio n to Social Theory Excerpts from Durkheim
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Social upheavals of industrialization Industrialization triggered many cataclysmic social and economic changes in European society In much of Great Britain, tenant farmers were pushed off agricultural land to make room for sheep herding to produce wool for newly developing textile factories (Inclosure Acts) Traditional craftsmen (spinners/weavers) were put out of work by factory produced goods International trade increased competition in production/sale of goods and put some local producers out of business
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Industrialization inspired: Growth of an extremely poor working class Growth of a new middle class (businessmen/tech nical workers) between old aristocracy and peasant classes Conflict over working and living conditions Social upheavals Social theory developed as an attempt to make sense of rapid economic and social changes caused by the Industrial Revolution (18 th - 19 th Centuries)
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Social problems had been treated as ethical or philosophical matters. Age of Enlightenment (late 1700s-early 1800s) encouraged a different approach to the study of social problems. Advances in science and technology introduced new methods of thinking about and gathering data Development of government Civil Service (bureaucracies) provided a source of statistical data Social theory developed along with advancements in scientific theory
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Significant Early Theorists Auguste Comte (1798- 1857) Originated the term “sociology” Envisioned sociologists as a group of experts who would be able to diagnose social problems with systematic, scientific expertise Applied principles of “positivism” (objectively verifiable facts) to the study of social issues
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Positivism Comte applied scientific objectivity (“principles of positivism”) to the problems of governing society by writing a 4 volume text entitled Système de Politique Positive (A System of Positive
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Sociologists as “kings” Comte believed that because of its relevance to all aspects of society, sociology would become the most valued intellectual discipline Sociology would be “queen” of academic fields and sociologists would be “kings” in their influence over social
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Karl Marx (1818-1883) Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)
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Marxist Theory Analysis of the dynamics/contradictio ns of capitalism Believed that social change is largely the result of economic activity and influences Class struggle is the means of social change Conflict is inevitable in human society unless and until there is true social justice Envisioned utopian alternative to
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Theory1 - Introductio n to Social Theory Excerpts from...

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