History of sociology

The work of classical thinkers continues to inspire modern sociologists in a variety of ways. -Many contemporary thinkers seek to reinterpret the classics to apply them to the contemporary scene. -When we refer to classical sociological theory we refer to theories of great scope and ambition that either were created in Europe between the early sass and the early sass or have their roots In the culture of that period. The work of such classical sociological theorists as Augusta Comet, Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer, Mile Druthers, Max Weber, George Slime was Important in its time and played a central role in the subsequent placement of sociology. They have become classics because they have a wide range of application and deal with centrally Important social Issues. Theory Theory is an explanation or model which is based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict phenomena.

Any scientific theory must be based on a careful and rational examination of the facts. A clear distinction needs to be made between facts (things which can be observed and/or measured) and theories (explanations which correlate and Interpret the facts). Classical Greek Thought The Ideas of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle The Ancient Greek philosophers did not see a distinction between politics and society. The concept of society did not come until much later during the Enlightenment period. The term, sociot, was probably first used as a key concept by Rousseau in discussion of social relations.

By the mid-5th century, it had become more common for advanced thinkers to reject traditional explanations of the world of nature. As a result of the experience of a century of war, religious beliefs declined. Gods and goddesses were no longer held in the same regard as they had been a entry earlier. Wars taught that the actions of men and women determine their own destiny. Meanwhile, more traditional notions of right and wrong were called Into question. Greeks used their creative energies to explain experience by recourse to history, tragedy, comedy, art and architecture.

But their creative energies were also used to “Invent” philosophy, defined as “the love of wisdom,” In general, philosophy came into existence when the Greeks discovered their dissatisfaction with suspect that there was a rational or logical order to the universe. Forces that led to the rise of Sociology Social Forces in the Development of Sociological Theory The social conditions of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were of the utmost significance to the development of sociology. The chaos and social disorder that resulted from the series of political revolutions ushered in by the French Revolution in 1789 disturbed many early social theorists. While they recognized that a return to the old order was impossible, they sought to find new sources of order in societies that had been traumatized by dramatic political changes. 2. ) The Industrial Revolution was a set of developments that transformed Western societies from largely agricultural to overwhelmingly industrial systems. Peasants left agricultural work for industrial occupations in factories.

Within this new system, a few profited greatly while the majority worked long hours for low wages. A reaction against the industrial system and capitalism led to the labor movement and other radical movements dedicated to overthrowing the capitalist system. As a result of the Industrial Revolution, large numbers of people moved to urban settings. The expansion of cities produced a long list of urban problems that attracted the attention of early sociologists. 3. ) Socialism emerged as an alternative vision of a worker’s paradise in which wealth was equitably distributed.

Karl Marx was highly critical of capitalist society in his writings and engaged in political activities to help engineer its fall. Other early theorists recognized the problems of capitalist society but sought change through reform because they feared socialism more than they feared capitalism. 4. ) Feminists were especially active during the French and American Revolutions. However feminist concerns filtered into early sociology only on he margins. In spite of their marginal status, early women sociologists like Harriet Martinets and Marianne Weber wrote a significant body of theory that is being rediscovered today.

All of these changes had a profound effect on religiosity. Many sociologists came from religious backgrounds and sought to understand the place of religion and morality in modern society. Throughout this period, the technological products of science were permeating every sector of life, and science was acquiring enormous prestige. An ongoing debate developed between sociologists who sought o model their discipline after the hard sciences and those who thought the distinctive characteristics of social life made a scientific sociology problematic and unwise. Intellectual Forces and the Rise of Sociological Theory 1 . The Enlightenment was a period of intellectual development and change in philosophical thought beginning in the eighteenth century. Enlightenment thinkers sought to combine reason with empirical research on the model of Newtonian science. They tried to produce highly systematic bodies of thought that made rational sense and that could be derived from real-world observation. Convinced that the world could be comprehended and controlled using reason and research, they believed traditional social values and institutions to be irrational and inhibitive of human development.

Their ideas conflicted with traditional religious bodies like the Catholic Church, the political regimes of Rupee’s absolutist monarchies, and the social system of feudalism. They placed their faith instead in the power of the and rational inquiry. 2. ) A conservative reaction to the Enlightenment, characterized by a strong anti-modern sentiment, also influenced early theorists. The conservative reaction led thinkers to emphasize that society had an existence of its own, in contrast to the individualism of the Enlightenment.

Additionally, they had a cautious approach to social change and a tendency to see modern developments like industrialization, arbitration, and bureaucratically as having disorganized effects. Broad Category of Classical Functionalists in Sociology Claude Henry Saint-Simon Claude Henry Saint-Simon (176(:)-1825) was a positivist who believed that the study of social phenomena should employ the same scientific techniques as the natural sciences. But he also saw the need for socialist reforms, especially centralized planning of the economic system.

Augusta Comet Augusta Comet (1798-1857) coined the term “sociology. ” Like Saint-Simon, he believed the study of social phenomena should employ scientific techniques. But Comet was disturbed by the chaos of French society and was critical of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Comet developed an evolutionary theory of social change in his law of the three stages. He argued that social disorder was caused by ideas left over from the idea systems of earlier stages. Only when a scientific footing for the governing of society was established would the social upheavals of his time cease.

Comet also stressed the systematic character of society and accorded great importance to the role of consensus. These beliefs made Comet a forerunner of positivism and reformism in classical sociological theory. The thoughts of Augusta Comet, who coined the term sociology, while dated and riddled with weaknesses, continue in many ways to be important to contemporary sociology. First and foremost, Comet’s positivism – the search for invariant laws governing the social and trial worlds – has influenced profoundly the ways in which sociologists have conducted sociological inquiry.

Comet argued that sociologist (and other scholars), through theory, speculation, and empirical research, could create a realist science that would accurately “copy” or represent the way things actually are in the world. Furthermore, Comet argued that sociology could become a “social physics” that is a social science on a par with the most positivistic of sciences, physics. Comet believed that sociology would eventually occupy the very pinnacle of a hierarchy of sciences. Comet also identified four methods of sociology.

To this day, in their inquiries sociologists continue to use the methods of observation, experimentation, comparison, and historical research. While Comet did write about methods of research, he most often engaged in speculation or theorizing in order to attempt to discover invariant laws of the social world. Comet’s “law of the three stages” The law of three stages is an example of his search for invariant laws governing the social world. Comet argued that the human mind, individual human beings, all knowledge, and world history develop through three successive stages.

The theological stage is dominated by a search for the essential nature of things, and people come to believe that all phenomena are created and influenced by gods and supernatural forces. Monotheism is the ultimate belief of the theological stage. 2. ) The metaphysical stage is a transitional stage in which mysterious, abstract forces the world. 3. ) The positivist stage is the last and highest stage in Comet’s work. In this stage, people search for invariant laws that govern all of the phenomena of the world.

Comet also used the term positivism in a second sense; that is, as a force that loud counter the negativism of his times. In Comet’s view, most of Western Europe was mired in political and moral disorder that was a consequence of the French Revolution of 1789. Positivism, in Comet’s philosophy, would bring order and progress to the European crisis of ideas. Comet’s philosophical idealism thus separates his views from those of his contemporary Karl Marx (1818-1883), who was a materialist. Social static and dynamics Comet separated social static from social dynamics.

Social static are concerned with the ways in which the parts of a social system (social structures) interact with en another, as well as the functional relationships between the parts and to the social system as a whole. Comet therefore focused his social static on the individual, as well as such collective phenomena as the family, religion, language, and the division of labor. Comet placed greater emphasis on the study of social dynamics, or social change. His theory of social dynamics is founded on the law of the three stages; I. E. The evolution of society is based on the evolution of mind through the theological, metaphysical, and positivist stages. He saw social dynamics as a process f progressive evolution in which people become cumulatively more intelligent and in which altruism eventually triumphs over egoism. This process is one that people can modify or accelerate, but in the end the laws of progressive development dictate the development of society. Comet’s research on social evolution focused on Western Europe, which he viewed as the most highly developed part of the world during his times.

Some of Comet’s most amusing ideas are found in his plans for the future. Comet envisioned a positivist calendar, public holidays, and temples. He elaborated a Lana for his positivist society that included important roles for bankers and industrialists, positivist priests, merchants, manufacturers, and farmers. Comet also envisioned a positivist library of 100 books, titles that he personally selected. He argued that reading other works would contaminate the minds of the people. He also planned to restructure the family to include a father, mother, three children, and paternal grandparents.

Herbert Spencer: Individualism/Holism Herbert Spencer (1820-1902) depicted society as a system, a whole made up of interrelated parts. He also set forth an evolutionary theory of historical development. Social Darwinism is Spence’s application of evolutionary notions and the concept of survival of the fittest to the social world. According to Ritzier (2000) although the sociological theory of Herbert Spencer has but a small following today, his work was quite popular during his lifetime, particularly in America.

Spence’s theory of society does represent an advance over Contain theory even though Spencer like Comet, characterized himself as a positivist and derived his concepts of structure and function from the field of biology. Spencer used the Contain terms of social static ND social dynamics, but not in a descriptive way as Comet did to refer to all types of societies, but rather in a normative way to describe his version of the future ideal society. Furthermore, Spencer was more interested in studying the progress of the external world or objectivity, while Comet focused more on the subjective nature of between Spencer and Comet.

Spencer had little regard for centralized political control and believed that the government should allow individuals the maximum freedom to pursue their private interests. Comet, on the other hand, desired society to be led by the high priests of positivistic religion. Spence’s Evolutionary Theory and Sociology Spencer defined sociology as the study of societal evolution and believed that the ultimate goal of societal evolution is complete harmony and happiness. Spence’s theory of evolutionary change is built upon three basic principles: integration, differentiation, and definiteness.

Spencer argued that homogeneous phenomena are inherently unstable, which makes them subject to constant fluctuations. These fluctuations force homogeneous systems to differentiate, which results in greater multiform. In other words, homogeneous systems grow to become heterogeneous. Spencer focused much of his energy on trying to legitimate sociology as a scientific discipline. He argued that laypeople might think they deal with the same issues as sociologists do; however, they are not trained to adequately comprehend these issues.

One of the ways that Spencer believed sociology could become more legitimate was for sociologists to study other disciplines, especially biology and psychology. Biology could be linked to sociology through the search for the basic “laws of life,” understanding society as a “living body’ and focusing on human beings as the starting point of sociological inquiries. Psychology is useful to sociology because it helps to show that emotions or sentiments are linked to social action.

According to Spencer, individuals are the source of all social phenomena, and the motives of individuals are key to understanding society as a whole. Spence’s Methodology Spencer realized that studying social phenomena was inherently different from studying natural phenomena; therefore, sociology could not simply imitate the methods used by biologists. Spencer also argued that the psychological method of introspection was ill-suited to studying objective social facts and processes. Sociologists are also faced with the methodological problem of how to keep their own bias in check and gather and report trustworthy data.

Spencer advocated a Value free’ methodological approach for sociology and cautioned sociologists to be aware of emotional biases that might influence their work, including educational, patriotic, class, political, and theological biases. Spencer was committed to empirical research and employed a comparative historical methodology in much of his work. The Evolution of Society Spence’s general theory of social evolution involves the progress of society towards integration, heterogeneity, and definiteness.

It also includes a fourth dimension, the increasing coherence of social groups. Social groups, according to Spencer, strive towards greater harmony and cooperation through the division of labor and the state. Spencer does not develop a linear theory of social evolution; he acknowledges that dissolution or no change at all may occur at any given moment. Spencer was a social realist in that he viewed society as an entity in and of itself thus; the whole of society can live on even if its component parts die. As society grows, it becomes more complex and differentiated.

Structures accompany this growth, which function to economic activities Spencer uses his evolutionary theory to trace the movement from simple to compounded societies and from militant to industrial societies. Society evolves from the compounding and recommending of social groups. It also evolves from military societies dominated by conflict and a coercive regulative system to industrial societies characterized by harmony and a sustaining system of decentralized rule. Spencer thought the society that he was living in was a ‘hybrid society exhibiting traits of both military and industrial societies.

Although he ultimately hoped society n general would progress towards a state of industry, he recognized that the regression to a militant state was possible. -Spencer argued that individuals were the source of moral law in a given society, but that God ultimately determined good and evil. Evil itself, according to Spencer, was a result of individuation to external conditions, and that in a perfectly evolved society it would disappear. Spencer also opposed state-administered charity, education, and even basic services like garbage removal.

Following his doctrine of the survival of the fittest, Spencer even opposed private philanthropy. State and private charity both helped to maintain “unhealthy’ or unfit members of society, and this stifled present and future society from evolving to perfect harmony. Г?mile Druthers: Social Integration and Social Facts Perhaps one of the greatest sociologists of the late 19th century, Druthers (1858-1917) grew up in France after it lost the war with Germany in 1870. Druthers legitimated sociology in France and became a dominant force in the development of the discipline worldwide.

Much of his work is concerned with what holds society together, and what makes people work together. Today he is mainly remembered for our books. Namely, The Rules of Sociological Method which was concerned with the differences between sociology and the other social sciences. This book helped to establish sociology as a university discipline. Deuterium’s first book, The Division of Labor In Society is concerned with the transition between traditional agricultural societies and modern urban industrial societies, and the differences in social organization between them.

Perhaps his most famous book is Suicide, where he asks the question why people kill themselves. For his book he gathered a mass of statistical information from government records. Although Druthers was politically liberal, he took a more conservative position intellectually, arguing that the social disorders produced by striking social changes could be reduced through social reform. He argued that sociology was the study of structures that are external to and coercive over, the individual; for example, legal codes and shared moral beliefs, which he called social facts.

In Suicide he made his case for the importance of sociology by demonstrating that social facts could cause individual behavior. He argued that societies were held together by a strongly held collective morality called he collective conscience. Because of the complexity of modern societies, the collective conscience had become weaker, resulting in a variety of social pathologies. In his later work, Dukedom turned to the religion of primitive societies to demonstrate between mechanical and organic solidarity.

He contended that the distinctive subject matter of sociology should be the study of social facts, which is the importance of the collective consciousness. Sociology as a Discipline and Social Facts Mile Deuterium’s effort to establish sociology as a discipline distinct from philosophy ND psychology is evident in the two main themes that permeate his work. Namely 1 . The priority of the social over the individual and 2. The idea that society can be studied scientifically. Deuterium’s concept of social facts, in particular, differentiates sociology from philosophy and psychology.

Social facts are the social structures and cultural norms and values that are external to and coercive over, individuals. Social facts are not attached to any particular individual; nor are they reducible to individual consciousness. Thus, social facts can be studied empirically. ] According to Druthers, two different types of social facts exist: material and immaterial. Druthers was most interested in studying the latter, particularly morality, collective conscience, collective representation, and social currents.

The Division of Labor In this work Druthers discusses how modern society is held together by a division of labor that makes individuals dependent upon one another because they specialize in different types of work. Druthers is particularly concerned about how the division of labor changes the way that individuals feel they are part of society as a whole. Societies with little division of labor (I. . , where people are self-sufficient) are unified by mechanical solidarity; all people engage in similar tasks and thus have similar responsibilities, which builds a strong collective conscience.

Modern society, however, is held together by organic solidarity (the differences between people), which weakens collective conscience. Druthers studied these different types of solidarity through laws. A society with mechanical solidarity is characterized by repressive law, while a society with organic solidarity is characterized by restrictive law. Moral Education and Social Reform Druthers believed that society is the source of morality; therefore, he also believed that society could be reformed, especially through moral education. According to Druthers, morality is composed of three elements: discipline, attachment, and autonomy.

Discipline constrains egoistic impulses; attachment is the voluntary willingness to be committed to groups; and autonomy is individual responsibility. Education provides children with these three moral tools needed to function in society. Adults can also acquire these moral tools by Joining occupational associations. According to Druthers, these associations would include members of a reticular occupation regardless of class position and could provide a level of integration and regulation, both of which tend to be weakened by the division of labor. Criticisms Druthers is often criticized for being a functionalist and a positivist.

However, his historical comparative methodology puts him at odds with functionalists and positivists who believe that invariant social laws exist that can explain social phenomenon across all societies. Druthers does tend to emphasize the objective nature of social facts; thus, he neglects the subjective interpretations that social actors may have of a particular social phenomenon and the agency of individuals in human nature that people are driven by their passion for gratification that can never be satisfied is not empirically substantiated in any of his work.

Finally, Druthers understands of the relationship between morality and sociology has been critiqued as being conservative. Cooley, Charles Horton (1864-1929) Cooley was one of the first generation of American sociologists, but an eccentric one who differed from most of his peers. Whereas the majority of the pioneers were Social Darwinian, Cooley was a less mechanical evolutionist. Most were reformists, often inspired by religion, while Cooley was more artistic and romantic; While most were aiming to make sociology a rigorously objective (positivist) science, Cooley was an idealist, more concerned with introspection and imagination.

He is one of the earliest of humanistic sociologists. Cooley sought to abolish the dualism of society/ individual and body/mind, emphasizing instead their interconnections, and conceptualizing them as functional and organic wholes. The root problem of social science was the mutual interrelationship between the individual and social order. In is view, the concepts of the ‘individual’ and of ‘society’ could be defined only in relationship to each other, since human life was essentially a matter of social intercourse – of society shaping the individual and individuals shaping society.

However, his critics did not see him as being successful in this enterprise, ultimately siding too much with the individual and idealism. Cooley launched his career ‘in defiance of categories’, refusing to label himself a sociologist, and seeking instead to merge history, philosophy, and social psychology. Two of his concepts have, nevertheless, captured the sociological imagination. The first is the looking-glass self: the way in which the individual’s sense of self is ‘mirrored’ and reflected through others.

This was an idea later to be greatly expanded by William James and George Herbert Mead in their attempts to build a general theory of the self. 2 The second of Cooley’s lasting concepts is that of the ‘primary group’, characterized by close, intimate, face-to-face interaction, which Cooley contrasted with the larger and more disparate ‘nucleated group’ (subsequently referred to more commonly as the ‘secondary group’), whose members were rarely if ever all in direct contact. Families or friendship circles are typical primary groups; trade unions and political parties are characteristically secondary groups. Cooley was both a student and professor at the University of Michigan. His major works are Human Nature and the Social Order (1902). Social Organization (1909). And Social Process (1918). Poland, Karl (1886-1964) An influential and internationally renowned Austrian-born economic historian, who taught widely throughout Europe and the United States, Poland has a substantial and continuing influence in sociology because of the way in which his empirical tidies undermine many of the assumptions of neoclassical economic theory. His best-known publication is The Great Transformation (1944) – which has a Foreword by Robert M.

Massive – in which he sought to document the causes of the two world wars, the depression of the sass, and the basis of the ‘new order’ of the mid- twentieth century. His was a stringent study of the consequences of the emergence of the ‘world market’ and the manner in which society can protect itself against its consequences. He warned against promoting the economy to the point at which control, and human dignity and freedom are threatened. This economics could estrous society by undermining social cohesion: it requires that the economy be embedded within relations of social control similar to those found in traditional societies.

His other major publications, notably the co-authored Trade and Markets in the Early Empires (1957) and the posthumously published The Livelihood of Man (1977) develop Policy’s so-called substantive critique of liberalism, challenging the idea that freedom and Justice are inextricably tied to the free market, and documenting the various ways in which economic processes in any society are necessarily shaped by its cultural, political, and social institutions.

Poland was a genuinely interdisciplinary scholar: an entry on him is also likely to be found in dictionaries of economics, history, anthropology, and political science. Most recently his work has become part of the debate around the possibility for a ‘Third Way’ in the transition from communism to the market. Untransformed market economics, as exported by most Western advisers, are seen by some East European social scientists and policy-makers as likely to create the kinds of problems associated with the self- regulating market that Poland documents across a range of historical examples.

The opposition between the ‘logic of the economy’ and the ‘logic of society’ are particularly acutely felt by these post communist societies as they leave their protective states and face the uncertainties of a rapid transition to the market. ANTHROPOLOGY Abrasions Mammalians (1884 – 1942) Mammalians was born on 7 April 1884 in Poland in an upper-class family that was very cultured and had deep scholarly interests. Through the acquisition of an outstanding education and many years of fieldwork, he became a very influential British anthropologist and the founder of Functionalism.

The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer sparked his interest in anthropology. Books by Mammalians include The Trinidad Islands and Argonauts of the Western Pacific. Mammalians, Functionalism and Ethnography Mammalians is remembered as the father of the functionalist school of anthropology as well as for his role in developing the methods and the primacy of anthropological fieldwork. Mammalians founded the field of Social Anthropology known as Functionalism, holding the belief that all components of society interlock to form a well-balanced system.

He emphasized characteristics of beliefs, ceremonies, customs, institutions, religion, ritual and sexual taboos. His New York Times obituary named him an “integrator often thousand cultural characteristics”. Mammalians first rose to prominent notice through his studies of Pacific Islanders, especially those conducted among the Trinidad Islanders whose marriage, trade, and religious customs he studied extensively. Mammalians helped develop the field of anthropology from a primarily evolutionary focus into sociological and psychological fields of enquiry.

Some of the more noteworthy by-products of his fieldwork in this direction was various evidence that debunked the Freudian notion of a universal Oedipal Complex ND also showed that so-called primitive peoples are capable of the same types and ideas and methodologies came to be widely embraced by the Bosnian influenced school of American Anthropology, making him one of the most influential anthropologists of the 20th century. Although Mammalians did not wholly “invent” fieldwork, his careful studies, and the brilliant observations which they allowed him to make, did much to popularize and revolutionize its importance.

Like his American counterpart Franz Boas, Mammalians emphasized the importance of immersing oneself deeply in the indigenous language or languages. But perhaps more than any other researcher before him, Mammalians embraced the value of studying everyday life in all its mundane aspects. Thus for him it was not enough to simply record what tribal members said about their religious beliefs, sexual practices, marriage customs, or trade relationships – it was important to also study how this measured up to, or played out in, what they did in everyday life.

The significance of this approach is that it became clear that the sweeping generalizations made by the so-called “arm chair” anthropologists of the past I. E Lewis Henry Morgan and Sir James Frazer had been wrong in many ways. Most notably, the new work showed that the Social Darwinist claims that all societies passed through the same distinct and predictable stages, in the same predictable order, along a single linear trajectory were simply false.

Societies varied in far more complicated and hard to predict, or understand, ways than the old linear model had predicted – and the wealth of diversity was far greater than previously imagined. Mammalians is primarily acknowledged as the father of functionalism in anthropology. Functionalism, which is based on the notion that all the parts of the society work together in an integrated whole, can be readily entreated to the structuralism of Mile Druthers and the structural functionalism of Radcliff-Brown each of which place more emphasis on society as a whole, and the ways that its institutions serve and maintain it.

Mammalians meanwhile placed greater emphasis on the actions of the individual: how the individual’s needs were served by society’s institutions, customary practices and beliefs, and how the psychology of those individuals might lead them to generate change. Radcliff-Brown (1881-1955) and Structural Functionalism Radcliff-Brown’s ideas on structural functionalism stress the preeminence of society ND its structure over the individuals, and how the various elements of the social structure function to maintain social order and equilibrium.

Radcliff-Brown focused attention on social structure. He suggested that a society is a system of relationships maintaining itself through cybernetic feedback, while institutions are orderly sets of relationships whose function is to maintain the society as a system. Radcliff-Brown, following Augusta Comet, believed that the social constituted a separate “level” of reality distinct from those of biological forms and inorganic matter. Furthermore, he lived that explanations of social phenomena had to be constructed within the social level.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *