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SCIENCE CAN BE USED TO BUILD A BETTER WORLD LOCAL PERSPECTIVES SOME COMMIT CRIMES BECAUSE THEY ARE RESPONDING TO A SOCIAL SITUATION THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT IS A WORK CONTRACT MODERN IDENTITIES ARE BEING DECENTERED GENDER IS AN IMITATION FOR WHICH THERE IS NO ORIGINAL THE SOCIOLOGY BOOK CONSUMPTION OF VALUABLE GOODS IS A MEANS OF REPUTABILITY TO THE GENTLEMAN BIG IDEAS SIMPLY EXPLAINED OBAL CITIES STRATEGIC SITES NEW TYPES OF PERATIONS W B ABANDON ALL HOPE OF TOTALITY, YOU WHO ENTER THE WORLD OF FLUID MODERNITY RELIGION IS THE SIGH OF THE OPPRESSED CREATURE TECHNOLOGY, LIKE ART, IS A SOARING EXERCISE OF THE HUMAN IMAGINATION A SENSE OF ONE’S PLACE THE SOCIOLOGY BOOK THE SOCIOLOGY BOOK DK LONDON JACKET DESIGN DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Sophia Tampakopoulos SENIOR ART EDITOR Amy Child SENIOR PRODUCER, PRE-PRODUCTION Luca Frassinetti EDITORS Alexandra Beeden Miezan van Zyl SENIOR PRODUCER Gemma Sharpe US EDITORS Christy Lusiak and Margaret Parrish ILLUSTRATIONS James Graham SENIOR EDITOR Sam Atkinson MANAGING EDITOR Esther Ripley MANAGING ART EDITOR Karen Self PUBLISHER Liz Wheeler ART DIRECTOR Phil Ormerod DK DELHI JACKET DESIGNER Dhirendra Singh First American Edition, 2015 Published in the United States by DK Publishing 345 Hudson Street New York, New York 10014 Copyright © 2015 Dorling Kindersley Limited A Penguin Random House Company 15 16 17 18 19 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 001—282934—July/2015 All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under the copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. SENIOR DTP DESIGNER Harish Aggarwal Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited. MANAGING JACKETS EDITOR Saloni Singh A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. original styling by ISBN: 978-1-4654-3650; -4 ASSOCIATE PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Liz Wheeler STUDIO8 DESIGN PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Jonathan Metcalf COBALT ID DK books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details, contact: DK Publishing Special Markets, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 SpecialSales@dk.com JACKET DESIGNER Laura Brim ART EDITORS Darren Bland, Paul Reid JACKET EDITOR Claire Gell EDITORS Diana Loxley, Marek Walisiewicz, Christopher Westhorp produced for DK by Printed and bound in China by Leo Paper Products Ltd. A WORLD OF IDEAS: SEE ALL THERE IS TO KNOW www.dk.com CONTRIBUTORS CHRISTOPHER THORPE, CONSULTANT EDITOR MEGAN TODD Our co-consultant and contributor Christopher Thorpe is a sociologist with an interest in social theory, cultural sociology, and British representations of Italy. He has a doctorate in sociology from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and is coeditor of the journal Cultural Sociology, author of several academic articles, and coauthor of An Invitation to Social Theory (2012). A senior lecturer in social science at the University of Central Lancashire, England, Megan Todd has a doctorate in sociology from the University of Newcastle, England. Her research interests include gender, sexuality, and violence. She has contributed chapters on intimacies and violence in various publications and is currently writing a textbook on sexualities. CHRIS YUILL, CONSULTANT EDITOR SARAH TOMLEY Our co-consultant and contributor Chris Yuill is a sociologist and lecturer at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. His interests include the social dimensions of health, both in the community and the workplace, and what makes for a successful urban space. He is a former committee member of The British Sociological Association and has written several books, including Understanding the Sociology of Health: An Introduction (2011) A writer, editor, and psychotherapist, Sarah Tomley has contributed to many books on the social sciences, including The Philosophy Book (2011) and The Psychology Book (2012) in DK’s Big Ideas series. MITCHELL HOBBS A lecturer in the department of media and communications at the University of Sydney, Australia, Mitchell Hobbs has a doctorate in media sociology from the University of Newcastle, Australia. He is coauthor of Communication, New Media and Everyday Life (2011); author of several national and international studies on global media, cultural ﬂows, and political communication; and has worked in a communications role for former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard. MARCUS WEEKS A writer and musician, Marcus Weeks studied philosophy and worked as a teacher before embarking on a career as an author. He has contributed to many books on the arts and popular sciences, including various titles in DK’s Big Ideas series. 6 CONTENTS 10 INTRODUCTION SOCIAL INEQUALITIES FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 20 21 A physical defeat has never marked the end of a nation Ibn Khaldun Mankind have always wandered or settled, agreed or quarreled, in troops and companies Adam Ferguson 22 Science can be used to build a better world Auguste Comte 26 The Declaration of Independence bears no relation to half the human race Harriet Martineau 28 The fall of the bourgeoisie and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable Karl Marx 32 34 Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft Ferdinand Tönnies Society, like the human body, has interrelated parts, needs, and functions Émile Durkheim 38 The iron cage of rationality Max Weber 46 Many personal troubles must be understood in terms of public issues Charles Wright Mills 50 Pay to the most commonplace activities the attention accorded extraordinary events Harold Garﬁnkel 52 Where there is power there is resistance Michel Foucault 56 Gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original Judith Butler 66 I broadly accuse the bourgeoisie of social murder Friedrich Engels 68 The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line W.E.B. DuBois 74 The poor are excluded from the ordinary living patterns, customs, and activities of life Peter Townsend 75 There ain’t no black in the Union Jack Paul Gilroy 76 A sense of one’s place Pierre Bourdieu 80 The Orient is the stage on which the whole East is conﬁned Edward Said 82 The ghetto is where the black people live Elijah Anderson 84 The tools of freedom become the sources of indignity Richard Sennett 88 Men’s interest in patriarchy is condensed in hegemonic masculinity R.W. Connell 7 90 96 150 No social justice without White women have been complicit in this imperialist, whitesupremacist capitalist patriarchy bell hooks global cognitive justice Boaventura de Sousa Santos 152 The unleashing of productive capacity by the power of the mind Manuel Castells The concept of “patriarchy” is indispensable for an analysis of gender inequality Sylvia Walby 156 We are living in a world that is beyond controllability Ulrich Beck 124 The bonds of our MODERN LIVING 104 Strangers are not really conceived as individuals, but as strangers of a particular type Georg Simmel 106 The freedom to remake communities have withered Robert D. Putnam 126 Disneyization replaces mundane blandness with spectacular experiences Alan Bryman 128 Living in a loft is like living in a showcase Sharon Zukin our cities and ourselves Henri Lefebvre 108 There must be eyes on the street Jane Jacobs 110 Only communication can communicate Niklas Luhmann 112 Society should articulate what is good Amitai Etzioni LIVING IN A GLOBAL WORLD 136 Abandon all hope of totality, you who enter the world of ﬂuid modernity Zygmunt Bauman 120 McDonaldization affects 144 The modern world- virtually every aspect of society George Ritzer system Immanuel Wallerstein 146 Global issues, local perspectives Roland Robertson 148 Climate change is a back-of-the-mind issue Anthony Giddens 162 It sometimes seems as if the whole world is on the move John Urry 163 Nations can be imagined and constructed with relatively little historical straw David McCrone 164 Global cities are strategic sites for new types of operations Saskia Sassen 166 Different societies appropriate the materials of modernity differently Arjun Appadurai 170 Processes of change have altered the relations between peoples and communities David Held 8 196 We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning Jean Baudrillard 200 Modern identities are being decentered Stuart Hall 202 All communities are imagined Benedict Anderson CULTURE AND IDENTITY 204 Throughout the world, culture has been doggedly pushing itself center stage Jeffrey Alexander 176 The “I” and the “me” modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned Antonio Gramsci 180 The civilizing process is constantly moving “forward” Norbert Elias 182 Mass culture reinforces political repression Herbert Marcuse 188 The danger of the future is that men may become robots Erich Fromm 189 Culture is ordinary Raymond Williams 190 Stigma refers to an attribute that is deeply discrediting Erving Goffman the worker’s control over his work process Robert Blauner 234 The Romantic ethic promotes the spirit of consumerism Colin Campbell 236 In processing people, the product is a state of mind Arlie Russell Hochschild 244 Spontaneous consent combines with coercion Michael Burawoy 246 Things make us just as much as we make things Daniel Miller G.H. Mead 178 The challenge of 232 Automation increases WORK AND CONSUMERISM 214 Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure Thorstein Veblen 220 The Puritan wanted to work in a calling; we are forced to do so Max Weber 224 Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination Daniel Bell 226 The more sophisticated machines become, the less skill the worker has Harry Braverman 248 Feminization has had only a modest impact on reducing gender inequalities Teri Lynn Caraway 9 280 Our identity and behavior are determined by how we are described and classiﬁed Howard S. Becker 286 Economic crisis is immediately transformed into social crisis Jürgen Habermas 288 Schooling has been at THE ROLE OF INSTITUTIONS 254 Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature Karl Marx once something done to the poor and for the poor Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis 290 Societies are subject, every now and then, to periods of moral panic Stanley Cohen 291 The time of the tribes 304 Heterosexuality must be recognized and studied as an institution Adrienne Rich 310 Western family arrangements are diverse, ﬂuid, and unresolved Judith Stacey 312 The marriage contract is a work contract Christine Delphy 318 Housework is directly opposed to selfactualization Ann Oakley 320 When love ﬁnally wins it has to face all kinds of defeat Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim Michel Maffesoli 260 The iron law of oligarchy Robert Michels 261 Healthy people need no bureaucracy to mate, give birth, and die Ivan Illich 262 Some commit crimes because they are responding to a social situation Robert K. Merton 264 Total institutions strip people of their support systems and their sense of self Erving Goffman 270 Government is the right disposition of things Michel Foucault 278 Religion has lost its plausibility and social signiﬁcance Bryan Wilson 292 How working-class kids get working-class jobs Paul Willis FAMILIES AND INTIMACIES 324 Sexuality is as much about beliefs and ideologies as about the physical body Jeffrey Weeks 326 Queer theory questions the very grounds of identity Steven Seidman 298 Differences between the sexes are cultural creations Margaret Mead 300 Families are factories that produce human personalities Talcott Parsons 302 Western man has become a confessing animal Michel Foucault 332 DIRECTORY 340 GLOSSARY 344 INDEX 351 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS INTRODU CTION 12 INTRODUCTION H umans are social creatures. Throughout our evolution, from our days of foraging and hunting animals, we have tended to live and work in social groups, which have become progressively larger and more complex. These groups have ranged from simple family units, through clans and tribes, villages and towns, to cities and nation states. Our natural inclination to live and work together has led to the formation of civil societies, which have been shaped by the increasing breadth of our knowledge and sophistication of our technology. In turn, the nature of the society we live in inﬂuences our social behavior, affecting virtually every aspect of our lives. Sociology was born of the modern ardor to improve society. Albion W. Small US scholar (1854–1926) Sociology is the study of how individuals behave in groups and how their behavior is shaped by these groups. This includes: how groups are formed; the dynamics that animate them; and how these dynamics maintain and alter the group or bring about social change. Today, sociology’s scope ranges from the theoretical study of social processes, structures, and systems, to the application of these theories as part of social policy. And, because societies consist of a collection of individual people, there is an inevitable connection between the structures of society as a whole and the behavior of its individual members. Sociologists may therefore focus on the institutions and organization of society, the various social groupings and stratiﬁcations within it, or the interactions and experiences of individuals. Perhaps surprisingly, sociology is a comparatively modern discipline. Although philosophers in ancient China and ancient Greece recognized the existence of civil society and the beneﬁts of social order, their concern was more political than sociological— how society should be organized and governed, rather than a study of society itself. But, just as political philosophy emerged from these civilizations, sociology appeared as a result of profound changes in Western society during the Age of Enlightenment. There were several aspects to these changes. Most noticeably, technological advances had provided the machinery that brought about the Industrial Revolution, radically changing methods of production and creating prosperous industrial cities. The traditional certainties based on religious belief were called into question by the philosophy of the Enlightenment. It was not only the authority of the Church that was undermined by this so-called Age of Reason: the old order of monarchies and aristocracies was under threat, with demands for more representative government leading to revolutions in America and France. Society and modernity A new, modern society was created from the Age of Enlightenment. Sociology began to emerge at the end of the 18th century as a response to this transformation, as philosophers and thinkers attempted to understand the nature of modernity and its effects on society. Inevitably, some simply INTRODUCTION 13 bemoaned the erosion of traditional forms of social cohesion, such as the family ties and community spirit found within small, rural societies, and the shared values and beliefs offered by a common religion. But others recognized that there were new social forces at work, bringing about social change with a potential for both social order and disorder. In keeping with the spirit of the Enlightenment, these early social thinkers sought to make their study of society objective, and create a scientiﬁc discipline that was distinct from philosophy, history, and politics. The natural sciences (physics, chemistry, astronomy, and biology) were well established, and the time was ripe for the study of humans and their behavior. Because of the nature of the Industrial Revolution and the capitalism that it fostered, the ﬁrst of the new “social sciences” to emerge was economics, pioneered by Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, better known as The Wealth of Nations, in 1776. However, at the same time, the foundations of sociology were also being laid, by philosophers and theorists such as Adam Ferguson and Henri de Saint-Simon, and in the early part of the following century by Auguste Comte, whose scientiﬁc approach to the study of society ﬁrmly established sociology as a distinct discipline. Following in Comte’s footsteps came three ground-breaking sociologists, whose different approaches to the analysis and interpretation of social behavior set the agenda for the subject of sociology in the 20th century and beyond: Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim, and Max Weber. Each identiﬁed a different aspect of modernity as the major factor in creating social order, disorder, and change. Marx, a materialist philosopher and economist, focused on the growth Human nature is... unbelievably malleable... responding accurately and contrastingly to contrasting cultural traditions. Margaret Mead of capitalism and the subsequent class struggle; Durkheim on the division of labor brought about by industrialization; and Weber on the secularization and rationalization of modern society. All three have had an enthusiastic following, inﬂuencing sociology’s major schools of thought to the present day. A social science Sociology was a product of the Age of Reason, when science and rational thinking began to reign supreme. Early sociologists were therefore anxious that, for their discipline to be taken seriously, their methods should be seen to be rigorously scientiﬁc—no mean feat, given the nature of their subject: human social behavior. Comte laid the ground rules for the new “science” of sociology, based on empirical evidence in the same way as the natural sciences. Marx, too, insisted on approaching the subject scientiﬁcally, and Durkheim was perhaps the ﬁrst to gain acceptance for sociology as a social science in the academic world. To be scientiﬁc, any research method must be quantitative—that is to say, have measurable results. Marx and Durkheim could point to facts, ﬁgures, and statistics to back up their theories, but others ❯❯ 14 INTRODUCTION maintained that social research should be more qualitative. Weber especially advocated an interpretive approach, examining what it is like to live in modern society, and the social interactions and relationships that are necessary for social cohesion. Although this viewpoint was initially dismissed by many as unscientiﬁc, sociology has become increasingly interpretive in the latter half of the 20th century, with a methodology that includes a combination of quantitative and qualitative research techniques. Social reform For many sociologists, sociology is more than simply the objective study of society, and the quest to analyze and describe social structures and systems. Sociological theories, like theories in the natural sciences, have practical applications, and can be used to improve the society in which we live. In the 19th century, Comte and Marx saw sociology as a way of understanding the workings of society in order to bring about social change. Marx famously said, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it,” and his many followers (sociologists as well as political activists) have taken this to heart. Durkheim, who was nowhere near as politically radical as Marx, made great efforts to have sociology accepted as an academic discipline. To gain the approval of the authorities, he had to demonstrate not only the subject’s scientiﬁc credentials, but also its objectivity, especially in light of the political unrest that had existed in Europe for more than a century following the French Revolution. This somewhat “ivory tower” approach, divorced from the real world, dominated sociology for the ﬁrst part of the 20th century, but as sociologists gradually adopted The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden. Pierre Bourdieu a more interpretive stance, they also advocated sociology as a tool of social reform. This was particularly noticeable among sociologists with a Marxian perspective and others with a leftwing political agenda. After World War II, sociologists, including Charles Wright Mills and Michel Foucault, examined the nature of power in society and its effects on the individual—the ways in which society shapes our lives, rather than the way we shape society, and how we can resist these forces. Even in more mainstream sociology, the mood was changing, and the scope of the subject broadened from the academic study of society as it is, to include practical applications informing public policy and driving social change. In 1972, Howard Becker, a respected US sociological theorist, wrote: “Good sociology... produces meaningful descriptions of organizations and events, valid explanations of how they come about and persist, and realistic proposals for their improvement or removal.” Institutions and individuals As a reﬂection of the increased emphasis on the relevance of sociology, the subject gained greater acceptance, and even INTRODUCTION 15 popular interest, in the second half of the 20th century, and as more thinkers turned their attention to social issues, so the scope of sociology broadened. Evolving from the traditional study of the structures and systems of modern society and the forces of social cohesion and causes of social disorder, it began to examine the connections between these areas and the interactions of individuals and social groups. A century or so ago, sociologists were divided into those who approached the subject on a macro level (looking at society as a whole and the institutions that it is constituted of), and those who approached it on the micro level— focusing on the individual’s experience of living within a society. While this distinction still exists to an extent, sociologists now recognize that the two are closely connected and many concentrate their work on groups that fall between these two approaches—social classes; ethnic, religious, or cultural groups; families; or groups that are deﬁned by gender or sexual orientation. Sociology has also responded to the accelerating pace of change. Since World War II, many social conventions have been challenged, and new social norms have taken their place. In the Western world, the civil rights and women’s movements have done much to address racial and gender inequalities, and sociological theories have also helped change attitudes to sexuality and family life. Here, as Zygmunt Bauman advises, “The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual. We have to be in service of freedom.” The global age Technological innovations have arguably brought about social changes comparable to—or more far-reaching than—those wrought by the Industrial Revolution. Increased automation and computerization, the rise of the service industries, and the growth of consumer society have all contributed to the shape of society many of us live in today. While some sociologists see this as a continuation of the process of modernity, others believe we are now entering a postmodern, post-industrial age. Advances in communication and mobility have also made the world a smaller place. Sociologists have recently turned their attention to the importance of cultural and national identity and to the effects of globalization, especially on local communities. With new forms of communication—particularly the Internet and fast international travel—have come entirely new social networks. These do not depend on face-to-face contact, but bring together individuals and groups in ways that were unimaginable even 50 years ago. Modern technology has also provided sociology with a sophisticated means of researching and analyzing the evolution of these new social structures. ■ The real political task in a society such as ours is to criticize the workings of institutions that appear to be... both neutral and independent... to criticize and attack them... so that one can ﬁght against them. Michel Foucault FOUNDA OF SOCI TIONS OLOGY 18 INTRODUCTION In his Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun describes asabiyyah, the Arabian concept of “solidarity” or social cohesion. Henri de Saint-Simon proposes a science of society in Essay on the Science of Man. In Theory and Practice of Society in America, Harriet Martineau describes the social inequalities in the oppressive treatment of slaves, women, and the working class. Karl Marx produces the ﬁrst volume of his comprehensive analysis of capitalism, Das Kapital. Ferdinand Tönnies differentiates between traditional community and modern society in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. C.1377 1813 1837 1867 1887 1767 1830–42 1848 Adam Ferguson’s Essay on the History of Civil Society explains the importance of civic spirit to counteract the destructive inﬂuence of capitalism in society. Auguste Comte’s Course in Positive Philosophy details the evolution of sociology as a science. In The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels predict social change as a result of a proletarian revolution. S ociology did not establish its credentials as a discipline until the 20th century, but its many strands of thought, approaches, and ﬁelds of study had evolved from centuries of work by historians and philosophers. Although the ﬁrst recognizably sociological study was made by Ibn Khaldun in the 14th century, the pioneers of sociology as we know it today only began to emerge from the late 18th century, when society underwent a sea-change in Western Europe: Enlightenment ideas were replacing traditional beliefs, and the Industrial Revolution was transforming the way that people lived and worked. These observers identiﬁed social change being driven by forces that became known as “modernity,” which included the effects of industrialization and the growth of capitalism, and the less tangible (but no less signiﬁcant) effects of secularization and rationality. A social science Modern society was the product of the Age of Reason: the application of rational thought and scientiﬁc discoveries. In keeping with this mood, the pioneers of sociology, such as French philosopher Henri de Saint-Simon and his protégé Auguste Comte, sought to provide veriﬁable evidence to support theories. Comte believed that not only could the forces of social order be explained by rules similar to the laws of physics and chemistry, but that applied sociology could bring about social reform in the same way that applied sciences had led to technological advances. 1874–85 Herbert Spencer’s multi-volume System of Synthetic Philosophy argues that societies evolve like life forms, and only the strongest survive. Like Comte, Karl Marx believed that the purpose of studying society is not simply to describe or explain it, but also to improve it. He was just as keen to be scientiﬁc, but chose as his model the new science of economics, identifying capitalism as the major factor of modernity driving social change. Almost a century before Marx, the Scottish philosopher Adam Ferguson had warned of the threat to traditional social cohesion posed by the self-interest of capitalism, and both Harriet Martineau and Marx’s colleague Friedrich Engels described the social injustices of industrialized capitalist society in the mid-19th century. Another pioneer sociologist, Ferdinand Tönnies, echoed Ferguson’s ideas with his description of two very different forms of social cohesion in FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 19 Émile Durkheim founds the ﬁrst European department of sociology at the University of Bordeaux, and publishes The Rules of Sociological Method. Charles Wright Mills and Hans Heinrich Gerth introduce Weber’s ideas to the English-speaking public in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. 1895 Harold Garﬁnkel presents a new methodology for sociology, observing the everyday actions that foster social order, in Studies in Ethnomethodology. Judith Butler questions traditional ideas of gender and sexuality in Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. 1967 1990 1946 1893 1904–05 1959 1975 In The Division of Labor in Society, Émile Durkheim describes the organic solidarity of interdependent individuals. Max Weber, in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, offers a novel explanation of how modern society evolved. In The Sociological Imagination, Charles Wright Mills argues sociologists should suggest the means of improving society. Michel Foucault begins his study of the nature of power in society in Discipline and Punish. traditional and modern societies— a concept variously interpreted by many subsequent sociologists. Toward the end of the 19th century, sociology proved itself as a ﬁeld of study distinct from history, philosophy, politics, and economics, largely thanks to Émile Durkheim. Adopting Comte’s idea of applying scientiﬁc methodology to the study of society, he took biology as his model. Like Herbert Spencer before him, Durkheim saw society as an “organism” with different “organs,” each with a particular function. An interpretive approach While Durkheim’s objective rigor won him academic acceptance, not all sociologists agreed that it was possible to examine social issues with scientiﬁc methods, nor that there are “laws” of society to be discovered. Max Weber advocated a more subjective—“interpretive”— approach. Whereas Marx named capitalism, and Durkheim industrialization, as the major force of modernity, Weber’s focus was on the effects on individuals of rationalization and secularization. A strictly scientiﬁc discipline was gradually supplanted by a sociology that was a study of qualitative ideas: immeasurable notions such as culture, identity, and power. By the mid-20th century sociologists had shifted from a macro view of society to the micro view of individual experience. Charles Wright Mills urged sociologists to make the connection between the institutions of society (especially what he called the “power elite”) and how they affect the lives of ordinary people. After World War II, others took a similar stance: Harold Garﬁnkel advocated a complete change of sociological methods, to examine social order through the everyday actions of ordinary people; while Michel Foucault analyzed the way power relations force individuals to conform to social norms, especially sexual norms—an idea taken further in Judith Butler’s study of gender and sexuality. By the end of the century, a balance had been found between the objective study of society as a whole and the interpretive study of individual experience. The agenda had been set by a handful of ground-breaking sociologists, and their various methods are now being applied to the study of society in an increasingly globalized late-modern world. ■ 20 A PHYSICAL DEFEAT HAS NEVER MARKED THE END OF A NATION IBN KHALDUN (1332–1406) IN CONTEXT FOCUS Solidarity KEY DATES c.622 The ﬁrst Islamic state is established in Medina. c.1377 Ibn Khaldun completes Muqaddimah (or Prolegomena), the introduction to his history of the world. 1835 Volume 1 of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America describes how the association of individuals for mutual purpose beneﬁts political and civil society. 1887 Ferdinand Tönnies writes Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (Community and Society). 1995 Robert Putnam explains the concept of social capital in his article “Bowling Alone,” expanded into a book in 2000. 1996 Michel Maffesoli’s Du Nomadisme continues his study of neotribalism. T he group dynamics of how some societies come to ﬂourish and take over others fascinated Ibn Khaldun, the Arab philosopher and historian. He is best known for his ambitious multivolume history of the world, the Kitab al-‘Ibar, especially the ﬁrst part called the Muqaddimah. The Kitab is seen as a precursor of sociology because of its analyses of Berber and Arabic societies. Central to Ibn Khaldun’s explanation of the success of a society is the Arabic concept of asabiyyah, or social solidarity. Originally, asabiyyah referred to the family bonds found in clans and nomadic tribes, but as civilizations grew it came to mean a sense of belonging, usually translated today as “solidarity.” According to Ibn Khaldun, asabiyyah exists in societies as small as clans and as large as empires, but the sense of a shared purpose and destiny wanes as a society grows and ages, and the civilization weakens. Ultimately, such a civilization will be taken over by a smaller or younger one with a stronger sense of solidarity: a nation may experience—but will never be brought down by—a physical defeat but when it “becomes the victim of a psychological defeat... that marks the end of a nation.” This concept of the importance of solidarity and social cohesion in society anticipated many ideas of community and civic spirit in modern sociology, including Robert Putnam’s theory that contemporary society is suffering from a collapse of participation in the community. ■ The desert Bedouin tribes were cited by Ibn Khaldun in his theory of group dynamics, in which social and psychological factors contribute to the rise and fall of civilizations. See also: Ferdinand Tönnies 32–33 ■ Robert D. Putnam 124–25 ■ Arjun Appadurai 166–69 ■ David Held 170–71 ■ Michel Maffesoli 291 FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 21 MANKIND HAVE ALWAYS WANDERED OR SETTLED, AGREED OR QUARRELED, IN TROOPS AND COMPANIES ADAM FERGUSON (1723–1816) IN CONTEXT FOCUS Civic spirit KEY DATES 1748 Montesquieu publishes The Spirit of the Laws, arguing that political institutions should derive from the social mores of a community. 1767 Adam Ferguson outlines his views in his book Essay on the History of Civil Society. 1776 With The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith pioneers modern economics. 1867 Karl Marx analyzes capitalism in the ﬁrst volume of Das Kapital. 1893 Émile Durkheim examines the importance of beliefs and values in holding society together in The Division of Labor in Society. 1993 Amitai Etzioni founds The Communitarian Network to strengthen the moral and social foundations of society. P rogress is both inevitable and desirable, but we must always be aware of the social costs that might be exacted as progress is made. Such was the warning of the philosopher and historian Adam Ferguson, who was one of the “Select Society” of Edinburgh intellectuals of the Scottish Enlightenment, a group that included the philosopher David Hume and economist Adam Smith. Ferguson believed, as did Smith, that commercial growth is driven by self-interest, but unlike Smith he analyzed the effects of this development and felt it was happening at the expense of traditional values of cooperation and “fellow-feeling.” In the past, societies had been based on families or communities, and community spirit was fostered by ideas of honor and loyalty. But the self-interest demanded by capitalism weakens these values, and ultimately leads to social collapse. To prevent commercial capitalism from sowing the seeds of its own destruction, Ferguson Man is born in civil society... and there he remains. Montesquieu French philosopher (1689–1755) advocated promoting a sense of civic spirit, encouraging people to act in the interest of society rather than in self-interest. Ferguson’s criticism of capitalism and commercialism meant that his theories were rejected by mainstream thinkers such as Hume and Smith, but they later inﬂuenced the political ideas of Hegel and Marx. And because he viewed the subject from a social rather than political or economic angle, his work helped to lay the foundations of modern sociology. ■ See also: Ferdinand Tönnies 32–33 ■ Karl Marx 28–31 ■ Émile Durkheim 34–37 ■ Amitai Etzioni 112–19 ■ Norbert Elias 180–81 ■ Max Weber 220–23 22 SCIENCE CAN BE USED TO BUILD A BETTER WORLD AUGUSTE COMTE (1798–1857) IN CONTEXT FOCUS Positivism and the study of society KEY DATES 1813 French theorist Henri de Saint-Simon suggests the idea of a science of society. 1840s Karl Marx argues that economic issues are at the root of historical change. 1853 Harriet Martineau’s abridged translation The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte introduces Comte’s ideas to a wider public. 1865 British philosopher John Stuart Mill refers to Comte’s early sociological and later political ideas as “good Comte” and “bad Comte.” 1895 In The Rules of Sociological Method, Émile Durkheim seeks to establish a systematic sociology. B y the end of the 18th century, increased industrialization had brought about radical changes to traditional society in Europe. At the same time, France was struggling to establish a new social order in the aftermath of the French Revolution. Some thinkers, such as Adam Smith, had sought to explain the rapidly changing face of society in economic terms; others, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, did so in terms of political philosophy. Adam Ferguson had described the social effects of modernization, but no one had yet offered an explanation of social progress to match the political and economic theories. FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 23 See also: Harriet Martineau 26–27 ■ Karl Marx 28–31; 254–59 ■ Ferdinand Tönnies 32–33 ■ Émile Durkheim 34–37 ■ Max Weber 38–45; 220–23 Knowledge of society can only be acquired through scientiﬁc investigation... ...and by observing the laws that govern social stability and social change. Auguste Comte Science can be used to build a better world. Scientiﬁc understanding of these laws can bring about change. Against the background of social uncertainty in France, however, the socialist philosopher Henri de Saint-Simon attempted to analyze the causes of social change, and how social order can be achieved. He suggested that there is a pattern to social progress, and that society goes through a number of different stages. But it was his protégé Auguste Comte who developed this idea into a comprehensive approach to the study of society on scientiﬁc principles, which he initially called “social physics” but later described as “sociology.” approach to philosophy. He made a detailed analysis of the natural sciences and their methodology, then proposed that all branches of knowledge should adopt scientiﬁc principles and base theory on observation. The central argument of Comte’s “positivism” philosophy is that valid knowledge of anything can only be derived from positive, scientiﬁc inquiry. He had seen the power of science to transform: scientiﬁc discoveries had provided the technological advances that brought about the Industrial Revolution and created the modern world he lived in. The time had come, he said, for a social science that would not only give us an understanding of the mechanisms of social order and social change, but also provide us with the means of transforming society, in the same way that the physical sciences had helped to modify our physical environment. ❯❯ Understand and transform Comte was a child of the Enlightenment, and his thinking was rooted in the ideals of the Age of Reason, with its rational, objective focus. The emergence of scientiﬁc method during the Enlightenment inﬂuenced Comte’s Auguste Comte was born in Montpellier, France. His parents were Catholics and monarchists, but Auguste rejected religion and adopted republicanism. In 1817 he became an assistant to Henri de Saint-Simon, who greatly inﬂuenced his ideas of a scientiﬁc study of society. After disagreements, Comte left Saint-Simon in 1824, and began his Course in Positive Philosophy, supported by John Stuart Mill, among others. Comte suffered during this time from mental disorders, and his marriage to Caroline Massin ended in divorce. He then fell madly in love with Clotilde de Vaux (who was separated from her husband), but their relationship was unconsummated; she died in 1846. Comte then devoted himself to writing and establishing a positivist “Religion of Humanity.” He died in Paris in 1857. Key works 1830–42 Course in Positive Philosophy (six volumes) 1848 A General View of Positivism 1851–54 System of Positive Polity (four volumes) 24 AUGUSTE COMTE He considered the study of human society, or sociology, to be the most challenging and complex, therefore it was the “Queen of sciences.” Comte’s argument that the scientiﬁc study of society was the culmination of progress in our quest for knowledge was inﬂuenced by an idea proposed by Henri de Saint-Simon and is set out as the “law of three stages.” This states that our understanding of phenomena passes through three phases: a theological stage, in which a god or gods are cited as the cause of things; a metaphysical stage, in which explanation is in terms of abstract entities; and a positive stage, in which knowledge is veriﬁed by scientiﬁc methods. Comte’s grand theory of social evolution became an analysis of social progress too—an alternative to the merely descriptive accounts of societal stages of huntergatherer, nomadic, agricultural, and industrial-commercial. Society in France, Comte suggested, was rooted in the theological stage until the Enlightenment, and social order was based on rules that were ultimately religious. Following the revolution in 1789, French society entered a metaphysical stage, becoming ordered according to Sociology is, then, not an auxiliary of any other science; it is itself a distinct and autonomous science. Émile Durkheim Comte identiﬁed three stages of progress in human understanding of the world. The theological stage came to an end with the Enlightenment at the end of the 18th century. Focus then shifted from the divine to the human in a metaphysical stage of rational thought, from which evolved a ﬁnal stage in which science provides the explanations. Theological stage Early human society Metaphysical stage 1790 1800 secular principles and ideals, especially the rights to liberty and equality. Comte believed that, recognizing the shortcomings of postrevolutionary society, it now had the possibility of entering the positive stage, in which social order could be determined scientiﬁcally. A science of society Comte proposed a framework for the new science of sociology, based on the existing “hard” sciences. He organized a hierarchy of sciences, arranged logically so that each science contributes to those following it but not to those preceding it. Beginning with mathematics, the hierarchy ranged through astronomy, physics, and chemistry to biology. The apex of this ascending order of “positivity” was sociology. For this reason, Comte felt it was necessary to have a thorough grasp of the other sciences and their methods before attempting to apply these to the study of society. Paramount was the principle of veriﬁability from observation: theories supported by the evidence of facts. But Comte also recognized that it is necessary to have a hypothesis to guide the direction of scientiﬁc inquiry, and to determine the scope of observation. He 1810 1820 Scientiﬁc stage 1830 Present day divided sociology into two broad ﬁelds of study: “social statics,” the forces that determine social order and hold societies together; and “social dynamics,” the forces that determine social change. A scientiﬁc understanding of these forces provides the tools to take society into its ultimate, positive stage of social evolution. Although Comte was not the ﬁrst to attempt an analysis of human society, he was a pioneer in establishing that it is capable of being studied scientiﬁcally. In addition, his positivist philosophy offered both an explanation of secular industrial society and the means of achieving social reform. He believed that just as the From science comes prediction; from prediction comes action. Auguste Comte FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 25 sciences have solved real-world problems, sociology—as the ﬁnal science and uniﬁer of the other sciences—can be applied to social problems to create a better society. From theory to practice Comte formed his ideas during the chaos that followed the French Revolution, and set them out in his six-volume Course in Positive Philosophy, the ﬁrst volume of which appeared in the same year that France experienced a second revolution in July 1830. After the overthrow and restoration of monarchy, opinion in France was divided between those who wanted order and those who demanded progress. Comte believed his positivism offered a third way, a rational rather than ideological course of action based on an objective study of society. His theories gained him as many critics as admirers among his contemporaries in France. Some of his greatest supporters were in Britain, including liberal intellectual John Stuart Mill, who provided him with ﬁnancial support to enable him to continue with his project, and Harriet Martineau, who translated an edited version of his work into English. Unfortunately, the reputation Comte had built up was tarnished by his later work, in which he described how positivism could be applied in a political system. An unhappy personal life (a marriage break-up, depression, and a tragic affair) is often cited as causing a change in his thinking: from an objective scientiﬁc approach that The 1830 revolution in France coincided with the publication of Comte’s book on positivism and seemed to usher in an age of social progress that he had been hoping for. examines society to a subjective and quasi-religious exposition of how it should be. The shift in Comte’s work from theory to how it could be put into practice lost him many followers. Mill and other British thinkers saw his prescriptive application of positivism as almost dictatorial, and the system of government he advocated as infringing liberty. By this time, an alternative approach to the scientiﬁc study of society had emerged. Against the same backdrop of social turmoil, Karl Marx offered an analysis of social progress based on the science of economics, and a model for change based on political action rather than rationalism. It is not difﬁcult to see why, in a Europe riven by revolutions, Comte’s positivist sociology became eclipsed by the competing claims of socialism and capitalism. Nevertheless, it was Comte, and to a lesser extent his mentor SaintSimon, who ﬁrst proposed the idea of sociology as a discipline based on scientiﬁc principles rather than The philosophers have only interpreted the world... the point is to change it. Karl Marx mere theorizing. In particular he established a methodology of observation and theory for the social sciences that was taken directly from the physical sciences. While later sociologists, notably Émile Durkheim, disagreed with the detail of his positivism and his application of it, Comte provided them with a solid foundation to work from. Although today Comte’s dream of sociology as the “Queen of sciences” may seem naive, the objectivity he advocated remains a guiding principle. ■ 26 THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE BEARS NO RELATION TO HALF THE HUMAN RACE HARRIET MARTINEAU (1802–1876) IN CONTEXT FOCUS Feminism and social injustice KEY DATES 1791 French playwright and political activist Olympe de Gouges publishes the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen in response to the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” of 1789. 1807–34 Slavery is abolished in the British Empire. 1869 Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill coauthor the essay “The Subjection of Women.” 1949 Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex lays the foundations for “second-wave” feminism of the 1960s–1980s. 1981 The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is ratiﬁed by 188 states. I The United States is established on the principle of equal rights... ...yet these rights are granted to men only... The Declaration of Independence bears no relation to half the human race. ...and women are treated as second-class citizens. n 1776, the Declaration of Independence proclaimed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” More than 50 years later, between 1834 and 1836, Harriet Martineau traveled around the US and recorded a very different picture of society. What she saw was a marked discrepancy between the ideals of equality and democracy, and the reality of life in the US. Before her visit, Martineau had made her name as a journalist writing on political economy and FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 27 See also: Judith Butler 56–61 ■ R.W. Connell 88–89 ■ Sylvia Walby 96–99 Teri Caraway 248–49 ■ Christine Delphy 312–17 ■ Ann Oakley 318–19 social issues, so on her travels she set down in book form her impressions of US society. Her Theory and Practice of Society in America went beyond mere description, however, for it analyzed the forms of social injustice she came across there. Social emancipator For Martineau, the degree to which a society can be thought of as civilized is judged by the conditions in which its people live. Theoretical ideals are no measure of how civilized a society is if they do not apply to everybody. The supposed ideals of US society, notably the cherished notion of freedom, were “made a mockery” by the continued practice of slavery, which Martineau identiﬁed as the prime example of one section of society having domination over another. Throughout her life, Martineau campaigned for an end to slavery, but she also applied her principles of what constitutes a civilized The Continental Congress adopted its highly moral plan for government on July 4, 1776. But Martineau questioned whether social virtues were possible in a society characterized by injustice. ■ society to identify and oppose other forms of exploitation and social oppression, such as the unjust treatment of the working class in industrial Britain and the subjugation of women in the Western world. Martineau highlighted the hypocrisy of a society that prided itself on liberty, yet continued to oppress women. This treatment was a particular affront because, as she pointed out, women were half the human race: “If a test of civilization be sought, none can be so sure as the condition of that half of society over which the other half has power.” Unlike many of her contemporaries, however, Martineau did not merely campaign for women’s rights to education or the vote, but described the ways in which society restricted women’s liberty in both domestic and public life. Martineau was well known in her lifetime, but her contribution to the development of sociology was not recognized until recently. Today, however, she is regarded as not only the ﬁrst woman to make a methodical study of society, but also the ﬁrst to formulate a feminist sociological perspective. ■ Harriet Martineau Harriet Martineau was born in Norwich, England, the daughter of progressive parents who ensured she had a good education. She showed an early interest in politics and economics, and after the death of her father in 1825, made a living as a journalist. Her success as a writer enabled her to move to London, and in 1834–36 to travel around the US. On her return to England, she published a three-volume sociological critique of the US. Her experiences there conﬁrmed her commitment to campaigning for the abolition of slavery and for the emancipation of women. Although profoundly deaf since her teenage years, Martineau continued working and campaigning until the 1860s. She had by this time moved to the Lake District, where, housebound by ill health, she died in 1876. Key works 1832–34 Illustrations of Political Economy 1837 Theory and Practice of Society in America 1837–38 How to Observe Morals and Manners 28 THE FALL OF THE BOURGEOISIE AND THE VICTORY OF THE PROLETARIAT ARE EQUALLY INEVITABLE KARL MARX (1818–1883) IN CONTEXT FOCUS Class conﬂict KEY DATES 1755 Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau identiﬁes private property as the source of all inequality. 1819 French social theorist Henri de Saint-Simon launches the magazine L’Organisateur to promote his socialist ideas. 1807 Georg Hegel interprets historical progress in The Phenomenology of Spirit. 1845 In The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, Friedrich Engels describes the division of capitalist society into two social classes. 1923 The Institute for Social Research is founded and attracts Marxist scholars to the University of Frankfurt. I n the mid-19th century, Europe was characterized by political instability that had begun with the French Revolution. The insurrectionary spirit spread across the continent, and there were attempts to overthrow and replace the old order of monarchies and aristocracy with democratic republics. At the same time, much of Europe was still coming to terms with the changes in society created by industrialization. Some philosophers had explained the problems of the modern industrial world in political terms and offered political solutions, and others such as Adam Smith looked to economics as both the cause of the FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 29 See also: Auguste Comte 22–25 ■ Max Weber 38–45 ■ Michel Foucault 52–55 ■ Friedrich Engels 66–67 Richard Sennett 84–87 ■ Herbert Marcuse 182–87 ■ Robert Blauner 232–33 ■ Christine Delphy 312–17 problems and the answer to them, but there had been little research into the social structure of society. Between 1830 and 1842, the French philosopher Auguste Comte had suggested that it was possible, and even necessary, to make a scientiﬁc study of society. Karl Marx agreed that an objective, methodical approach was overdue and was among the ﬁrst to tackle the subject. Marx did not set out, however, to make a speciﬁcally sociological study, but rather to explain modern society in historical and economic terms, using observation and analysis to identify the causes of social inequality. And where Comte saw science as the means of achieving social change, Marx pointed to the inevitability of political action. ■ Modern society has two great classes: the industry-owning bourgeoisie and the proletariat (workers). Controlling the means of production enriches the bourgeoisie and enables it to dominate private property. The majority proletariat owns little and sells its labor to the bourgeoisie yet stays poor because of exploitation. Self-interest mitigates against solidarity among the bourgeoisie, while unceasing competition fuels regular economic crises. This dehumanizing status leads to alienation and a group consciousness that seeks its own class’s collective good. Historical progress In Marx’s time, the conventional explanation of the development of society was of an evolution in stages, from hunting and gathering, through nomadic, pastoral, and agricultural communities to modern commercial society. As a philosopher, Marx was well aware of this idea of social progress and the economic origins of industrial society, but developed his own interpretation of this process. His primary inﬂuence was the German philosopher Georg Hegel, who had proposed a dialectic view of history: that change comes about through a synthesis of opposing forces in which the tension between contradictory ideas is resolved. Marx, however, viewed history as the progression of material circumstances rather than ideas, and took from Hegel the dialectical framework, while The fall of the bourgeoisie and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable. dismissing much of his philosophy. He was also inﬂuenced by French socialist thinkers, such as JeanJacques Rousseau, who laid the blame for inequality in civil society on the emergence of the notion of private property. Marx offered a new approach to the study of historical progress. It is the material conditions in which people live that determine the organization of society, he said, and changes in the means of production (the tools and machinery used to create wealth) bring about socio- economic change. “Historical materialism,” as this approach to historical development came to be known, provided an explanation for the transition from feudal to modern capitalist society, brought about by new methods of economic production. Under feudalism, the nobles had controlled the means of agricultural production, as owners of the land that the peasants or serfs worked. With the machine age a new class, the bourgeoisie, emerged as owners of a new means of production. As technology ❯❯ 30 KARL MARX Five historical epochs were identiﬁed by Marx. Each corresponds to an era in which people were clearly deﬁned by their labor. According to Marx, the determining force of history is the dominant mode of production, which shapes the classes in society. The epochs progress from early human history, when people held things in common, to capitalism in Marx’s day, with its two great social classes. In the future lies the classless society of communism. BOURGEOISIE (Ruling class in capitalist society) Control of the means of production Majority of the population CLASSLESS SOCIETY (Communism— a dictatorship of the proletariat; class conﬂict resolved and the means of production held in common) ARISTOCRATIC ELITE Collective ownership and control SOCIAL ELITE CLASSLESS SOCIETY (Primitive communism) SLAVES EARLY HUMAN HISTORY THE ANCIENT WORLD became more prevalent, the bourgeoisie challenged the nobles and brought about a change to the economic structure of society. The opposing elements of feudal society contained the seeds of the capitalist society that replaced it. PEASANTS (Farmers and agricultural laborers with limited rights) PROLETARIAT (Workers who do not own the means of production) FEUDALISM CAPITALISM Marx maintained that, as he and Friedrich Engels put it in The Communist Manifesto, “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” Whereas feudalism had been characterized by the two classes of nobles or aristocracy and peasants or serfs, modern industrial society had created a bourgeoisie class of capitalists, which owned the means of production, and a proletariat class, which worked in the new industries. Class conﬂict Karl Marx’s prediction of a communist revolution became a reality in 1917—it did not, however, take place in an advanced industrial nation as he had anticipated, but in Tsarist Russia. Tension and conﬂict between the classes in society was inevitable, according to Marx. Therefore, just as feudalism had been replaced, so too would capitalist society and the dominant bourgeoisie. He believed that the proletariat would one day control society, having overthrown the system that had brought it into existence. It is the method of production of material necessities, Marx argued, that determines the social structure of capitalist society: the THE END OF HISTORY classes of capital and labor. Capitalists obtain their wealth from the surplus value of goods produced, in the factories they own, by the labor of the workers. The proletariat, on the other hand, own almost nothing, and in order to survive have to sell their labor to the bourgeoisie. The relationship between the classes is exploitative, enriching the owners of capital and keeping the working class poor. In addition, the unskilled nature of the work in factories and mills contributes to a feeling of dehumanization and alienation from the process of production, which is aggravated by the threat of unemployment when production exceeds demand. Over time, however, oppression fosters a class-consciousness in the proletariat—a realization that together the working class can organize a movement for its collective good. The inherent selfinterest of capitalism tends to prevent such a development among the bourgeoisie, and constant competition leads to more and FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 31 more frequent economic crises. The increasing solidarity of the working class, and weakening of the bourgeoisie, will in time allow the proletariat to take over control of the means of production and bring about a classless society. A key contribution Marx’s analysis of how capitalism had created socioeconomic classes in the industrial world was based on more than mere theorizing, and as such was one of the ﬁrst “scientiﬁc” studies of society, offering a comprehensive economic, political, and social explanation of modern society. In the process, he introduced several concepts that became central to later sociological thinking, particularly in the area of social class, such as class conﬂict and consciousness, and the notions of exploitation and alienation. His ideas inspired numerous revolutionaries, and at one stage in the 20th century, around a third of the world’s population lived under a government espousing Marxist principles. But not everyone agreed with the Marxian division of society into classes deﬁned by their economic status, nor the idea that social change is the inevitable result of class conﬂict. In the generation following Marx, both Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, who along with Marx are often cited as the “founding fathers” of modern sociology, offered alternative views in reaction to his. Durkheim acknowledged that industry had shaped modern society, but argued that it was industrialization itself, rather than capitalism, that was at the root of social problems. Weber, on the other hand, accepted Marx’s argument that there are economic reasons behind class conﬂict, but felt that Marx’s division of society into bourgeoisie and proletariat on purely economic grounds was too simple. He believed that there were cultural and religious as well as economic causes for the growth of capitalism, and these were reﬂected in classes based on prestige and power as well as economic status. Although Marx’s inﬂuence on sociology in the Western world waned during the ﬁrst half of the 20th century, the members of the so-called “Frankfurt School” of sociologists and philosophers (including Jürgen Habermas, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse) remained notable adherents to his principles. After World War II, with the advent of the Cold War, opinion became even more divided. In the US in particular, Marxist theory of any type was largely discredited, while in Europe, especially France, a number of philosophers and sociologists further developed Marx’s social ideas. Today, as new technology is once again transforming our world, and at the same time people are becoming conscious of a growing economic inequality, some of Marx’s basic ideas have begun to be revisited by social, economic, and political thinkers. ■ [Marx is] the true father of modern sociology, in so far as anyone can claim the title. Isaiah Berlin Russo-British philosopher (1909–1997) Karl Marx Regarded as one of the “founding fathers” of social science, Karl Marx was also an inﬂuential economist, political philosopher, and historian. He was born in Trier, Germany, and at his lawyer father’s insistence, he studied law, rather than the philosophy and literature he was interested in, at the University of Bonn, and later at Berlin. There he developed his interest in Hegel, and went on to gain a doctorate from the University of Jena in 1841. After becoming a journalist in Cologne, Marx moved to Paris, where he developed his economic, social, and political theory, collaborating with Friedrich Engels. In 1845 the pair cowrote The Communist Manifesto. Following the failure of the revolutions in Europe in 1848, Marx moved to London. After the death of his wife in 1881, his health deteriorated, and he died two years later at 64. Key works 1848 The Communist Manifesto 1859 A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy 1867 Das Kapital, Volume 1 32 GEMEINSCHAFT AND GESELLSCHAFT FERDINAND TÖNNIES (1855–1936) IN CONTEXT There are two kinds of motivation for our social actions: FOCUS Community and society KEY DATES 1651 English philosopher Thomas Hobbes describes the relationship between man’s nature and the structure of society in Leviathan. a natural will to act cooperatively... a rational will to act for a speciﬁc end... ...which characterizes the interactions of a traditional community (Gemeinschaft). ...which characterizes the interactions of a modern society (Gesellschaft). 1848 In The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels lay out the effects of capitalism on society. 1893 Sociologist Émile Durkheim outlines the idea of social order maintained by organic and mechanical solidarity in The Division of Labor in Society. 1904–05 Max Weber publishes The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. 2000 Zygmunt Bauman introduces the idea of “liquid modernity” in an increasingly globalized society. T oward the end of the 19th century, a number of thinkers turned their attention to the social implications of modernity, and in particular the growth of capitalist industrial society. Among them were Émile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Ferdinand Tönnies, widely regarded as founding fathers of sociology. Tönnies’ major contribution to the discipline was his analysis of contrasting types of social groupings in his inﬂuential Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, published in 1887. FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 33 See also: Adam Ferguson 21 ■ Émile Durkheim 34–37 ■ Max Weber 38–45 ■ Amitai Etzioni 112–19 Zygmunt Bauman 136–43 ■ Karl Marx 254–59 ■ Bryan Wilson 278–79 ■ Michel Maffesoli 291 In this book, his magnum opus, Tönnies points out what he sees as the distinction between traditional rural communities and modern industrialized society. The former, he argues, are characterized by Gemeinschaft, community that is based on the bonds of family and social groups such as the church. Small-scale communities tend to have common goals and beliefs, and interactions within them are based on trust and cooperation. Gemeinschaft by its very essence is of an earlier origin than its subject or members. Ferdinand Tönnies Triumph of “will” In large-scale societies such as modern cities, the division of labor and mobility of the workforce have eroded traditional bonds. In place of Gemeinschaft there is Gesellschaft, association or society. Relationships in such societies are more impersonal and superﬁcial, and based on individual self-interest rather than mutual aid. The two extremes of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft exist to a greater or lesser extent in every social grouping, but Tönnies argued that the ethos of Ferdinand Tönnies capitalism and competition had led to a predominance of mere association in the industrial society in which he lived. At the root of Tönnies’ theory was his idea of “will”—what motivates people to action. He distinguished between what he called Wesenwille, “natural will,” and Kürwille, “rational will.” Wesenwille, he said, is the instinctive will to do something for its own sake, or out of habit or custom, or moral obligation. This is the motivation that underlies the Ferdinand Tönnies was born in North Frisia, Schleswig (now Nordfriesland, SchleswigHolstein, Germany). After studying at the universities of Strassburg, Jena, Bonn, and Leipzig, he was awarded his doctorate at Tübingen in 1877. In his postdoctoral studies in Berlin and London, Tönnies’ interest shifted from philosophy to political and social issues. He became a private tutor at the University of Kiel in 1881, but an inheritance allowed him to focus on his own work. He was also a cofounder of the German ■ social order of Gemeinschaft, the will to do things for and as a part of the community. On the other hand, Kürwille motivates us to act in a purely rational way to achieve a speciﬁc goal, and is the type of will behind decisions made in large organizations, and particularly businesses. It is Kürwille that characterizes the Gesellschaft of capitalist urban society. Despite his Left-leaning politics, Tönnies was seen as an essentially conservative ﬁgure, lamenting modernity’s loss of Gemeinschaft, rather than advocating social change. Although he had gained the respect of fellow sociologists, his ideas had little inﬂuence until many years later. Tönnies’ theory, along with his work on methodology, paved the way for 20th-century sociology. Weber further developed Tönnies’ notions of will and motivation to social action, and Durkheim’s idea of mechanical and organic solidarity echoed the contrast between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. ■ Sociological Society. Because of his outspoken political views, he was not offered a professorship at Kiel until 1913. His Social Democratic sympathies and a public denunciation of Nazism led to his removal from the university in 1931, three years before his death at age 80. Key works 1887 Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft 1926 Progress and Social Development 1931 Introduction to Sociology 34 SOCIETY, LIKE THE HUMAN BODY, HAS INTERRELATED PARTS, NEEDS, AND FUNCTIONS ÉMILE DURKHEIM (1858–1917) IN CONTEXT FOCUS Functionalism KEY DATES 1830–42 Auguste Comte advocates a scientiﬁc approach to the study of society in his Course in Positive Philosophy. 1874–77 Herbert Spencer says society is an evolving “social organism” in the ﬁrst volume of The Principles of Sociology. 1937 In The Structure of Social Action, Talcott Parsons revives the functionalist approach in his action theory. 1949 Robert K. Merton develops Durkheim’s idea of anomie to examine social dysfunction in Social Theory and Social Structure. 1976 Anthony Giddens offers an alternative to structural functionalism in New Rules of Sociological Method. S ociology was only gradually accepted as a distinct discipline, a social science separate from philosophy, in the latter half of the 19th century. The intellectual atmosphere of the time meant that for sociology to be recognized as a ﬁeld of study, it had to establish scientiﬁc credentials. Among those who had studied philosophy but been drawn to the new branch of knowledge was Émile Durkheim, who believed that sociology should be less of a grand theory and more of a method that could be applied in diverse ways to understanding the development of modern society. Now regarded as one of the principal founders of FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 35 See also: Auguste Comte 22–25 ■ Karl Marx 28–31 ■ Max Weber 38–45 ■ Jeffrey Alexander 204–09 ■ Robert K. Merton 262–63 ■ Herbert Spencer 334 Humankind has evolved from gathering in small, homogeneous communities to forming large, complex societies. In traditional society, religion and culture created a collective consciousness that provided solidarity. Émile Durkheim In modern society, the division of labor has brought about increased specialization and the focus is more on the individual than the collective... ...and solidarity now comes from the interdependence of individuals with specialized functions. Society, like the human body, has interrelated parts, needs, and functions. sociology, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, Durkheim was not the ﬁrst scholar to attempt to establish the subject as a science; the earlier work of other thinkers inevitably inﬂuenced his own ideas. Forging a scientiﬁc model Auguste Comte had laid the foundations with his theory that the study of human society is the pinnacle of a hierarchy of natural sciences. And, because society is a collection of human animals, the idea grew that of all the natural sciences, biology was the closest model for the social sciences. Not everyone agreed: Marx, for example, based his sociological ideas on the new science of economics rather than biology. But the appearance of Charles Darwin’s theory of the origin of species provoked a radical rethink of many conventionally held ideas. This was especially true in Britain, where Darwin’s work provided a model of organic evolution that could be applied to many other disciplines. Among those inspired by Darwin was Herbert Spencer, a philosopher and biologist who likened the development of modern society to an evolving organism, with different parts serving different functions. His writing established the idea of an “organic” model for the social sciences. ❯❯ Born in Épinal in eastern France, Émile Durkheim broke with family tradition and left rabbinical school to follow a secular career. He studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, graduating in philosophy in 1882, but was already interested in social science after reading Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer. Durkheim moved to Germany to study sociology. In 1887 he returned to France, teaching the country’s ﬁrst sociology courses at the University of Bordeaux, and later founded the ﬁrst social science journal in France. He was appointed to the Sorbonne in 1902 and stayed there for the rest of his life, becoming a full professor in 1906. He felt increasingly marginalized by the rise of right-wing nationalist politics during World War I, and after his son André was killed in 1916, his health deteriorated and he died of a stroke in 1917. Key works 1893 The Division of Labor in Society 1895 The Rules of Sociological Method 1897 Suicide 36 ÉMILE DURKHEIM Durkheim argued that religions, especially long-established faiths such as Judaism, are fundamentally social institutions that give people a strong sense of collective consciousness. Durkheim upheld Spencer’s functional idea of separate parts serving a purpose and the notion that society was greater than the sum of its individual elements. And Auguste Comte’s “positivism” (his belief that only scientiﬁc inquiry yields true knowledge) helped to shape the scientiﬁc methodology that Durkheim felt would reveal how modern society functions. Durkheim focused on society as a whole and its institutions, rather than the motivations and actions of individuals within society; above all, he was interested in the things that hold society together and maintain social order. He argued that the basis for sociological study should be what he called “social facts,” or “realities external to the individual” that can be veriﬁed empirically. Like the other pioneering sociologists, Durkheim tried to understand and explain the factors Is it our duty to seek to become a... complete human being, one quite sufﬁcient unto himself; or... to be only a part of a whole, the organ of an organism? Émile Durkheim that had shaped modern society, the various forces known as “modernity.” But where Marx had associated them with capitalism, and Weber with rationalization, Durkheim connected the development of modern society with industrialization, and in particular the division of labor that came with it. A functional organism What differentiates modern society from traditional ones, according to Durkheim, is a fundamental change in the form of social cohesion; the advent of industrialization has evolved a new form of solidarity. Durkheim outlined his theory of the different types of social solidarity in his doctoral thesis, “The Division of Social Labor.” In primitive societies, such as hunter-gatherer groups, individuals do much the same jobs, and although each could be selfsufﬁcient, society is held together by a sense of a common purpose and experience, and commonly held beliefs and values. The similarity of individuals in such a society fosters what Durkheim called “collective consciousness,” which is the basis of its solidarity. But as societies grew in size and complexity, people began to develop more specialized skills, replacing self-reliance with interdependence. The farmer, for example, relies on the blacksmith to shoe his horses, while the blacksmith relies on the farmer to provide his food. The mechanical solidarity, as Durkheim refers to it, of traditional society becomes replaced by an organic solidarity based not on the similarity of its individual members, but their complementary differences. This division of labor reaches its peak with industrialization, when society has evolved to become a complex “organism” in which individual elements perform specialized functions, each of which is essential to the well-being of the whole. The idea that society is structured like a biological organism composed of distinct parts with specialized functions became a signiﬁcant approach to sociology, known as functionalism. FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 37 The “social fact”—by which he meant a thing that exists without being subject to any individual will upon it—that Durkheim identiﬁes as driving this evolution from mechanical to organic solidarity is the increase in “dynamic density,” or population growth and concentration. The competition for resources becomes more intense, but with the increased population density comes the possibility of greater social interaction within the population itself, triggering a division of labor to more efﬁciently deal with its demands. In modern society, the organic interdependence of individuals is the basis for social cohesion. But Durkheim realized that the division of labor that came with rapid industrialization also brought social problems. Precisely because it is built on the complementary differences between people, organic solidarity shifts the focus from the community to the individual, replacing the collective consciousness of a society—the shared beliefs and values that provide cohesiveness. Without that framework of norms of behavior, people become disoriented and society unstable. Organic solidarity can only work if elements of mechanical solidarity are retained, and members of society have a sense of common purpose. The speed of industrialization, according to Durkheim, had forced a division of labor so quickly on modern society that social interaction had not developed sufﬁciently to become a substitute for the decreasing collective consciousness. Individuals felt increasingly unconnected with society, and especially the sort of moral guidance that mechanical solidarity had previously given them. Durkheim used the word anomie to describe this loss of collective standards and values, and its consequent sapping of individual morale. In a study of patterns of suicide in different areas, he showed the importance of anomie in the despair that leads someone to take their own life. In communities where collective beliefs were strong, such as among Catholics, the suicide rate was lower than elsewhere, which conﬁrmed for Durkheim the value of solidarity to the health of a society. An academic discipline A beehive is created by the division of labor of industrious insects. As well as producing a functioning whole, the bees maintain a symbiotic relationship with the ﬂora of their environment. Durkheim based his ideas on thorough research of empirical evidence, such as case studies and statistics. His major legacy was the establishment of sociology as an academic discipline in the tradition of the positivist doctrine of Comte—that social science is subject to the same investigative methods as the natural sciences. Durkheim’s positivist approach was met with skepticism, however. Sociological thinkers from Marx onward rejected the idea that something as complex and unpredictable as human society is Society is not a mere sum of individuals. Rather, the system formed by their association represents a speciﬁc reality which has its own characteristics. Émile Durkheim consistent with scientiﬁc research. Durkheim also went against the intellectual mood of the time by looking at society as a whole rather than at the experience of the individual, which was the basis of the approach adopted by Max Weber. His concept of “social facts” with a reality of their own, separate from the individual, was dismissed, and his objective approach was also criticized for explaining the basis of social order but not making any suggestions to change it. But Durkheim’s analysis of society as composed of different but interrelated parts, each with its own particular function, helped to establish functionalism as an important approach to sociology, inﬂuencing among others Talcott Parsons and Robert K. Merton. Durkheim’s explanations of solidarity were an alternative to the theories of Marx and Weber, but the heyday of functionalism lasted only until the 1960s. Although Durkheim’s positivism has since fallen out of favor, concepts introduced by him, such as anomie and collective consciousness (in the guise of “culture”), continue to ﬁgure in contemporary sociology. ■ THE IRON CAGE OF RATIONALITY MAX WEBER (1864–1920) 40 MAX WEBER IN CONTEXT FOCUS Rational modernity KEY DATES 1845 Karl Marx notes down 11 “Theses on Feuerbach” and introduces the idea of historical materialism—that economics, rather than ideas, drive social change. Modern industrial society brought technological and economic advances. But this was accompanied by increased rationalization and a bureaucratic structure... 1903 German sociologist Georg Simmel examines the effects of modern city life on the individual in The Metropolis and Mental Life. 1937 In The Structure of Social Action, Talcott Parsons puts forward his action theory, which attempts to integrate the contrasting (subjective– objective) approaches of Weber and Durkheim. 1956 In The Power Elite, Charles Wright Mills describes the emergence of a militaryindustrial ruling class as the result of rationalization. U ntil the latter half of the 19th century, the economic growth of the German states was based on trade rather than production. But when they made the shift to large-scale manufacturing industry, of the sort that had urbanized Britain and France, the change was rapid and dramatic. This was especially noticeable in Prussia, where the combination of natural resources and a tradition of military organization helped to establish an efﬁcient industrial society in a very short time. ...that imposed new controls, restricted individual freedoms, and eroded community and kinship ties. Bureaucratic efﬁciency has stiﬂed traditional interactions, trapping us in an “iron cage of rationality." Germany’s unfamiliarity with the effects of modernity meant it had not yet developed a tradition of sociological thought. Karl Marx was German by birth, but he based his sociological and economic ideas on his experiences of industrialized society elsewhere. However, toward the end of the century, a number of German thinkers turned their attention to the study of Germany’s emergent modern society. Among them was Max Weber, who was to become perhaps the most inﬂuential of the “founding fathers” of sociology. Weber was not concerned with establishing sociology as a discipline in the same way as Auguste Comte and Émile Durkheim in France, who sought universal “scientiﬁc laws” for society (in the belief, known as “positivism," that science could build a better world). While Weber accepted that any study of society should be rigorous, he argued that it could not be truly objective, because it is the study not so much of social behavior but of social action, meaning the ways in which individuals in society FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 41 See also: Auguste Comte 22–25 ■ Émile Durkheim 34–37 ■ Charles Wright Mills 46–49 ■ Georg Simmel 104–05 ■ George Ritzer 120–23 ■ Max Weber 220–23 ■ Karl Marx 254–59 ■ Jürgen Habermas 286–87 ■ Talcott Parsons 300–01 interact. This action is necessarily subjective, and needs to be interpreted by focusing on the subjective values that individuals associate with their actions. This interpretive approach, also called verstehen (“understanding”), was almost the antithesis of the objective study of society. Whereas Durkheim’s approach examined the structure of society as a whole, and the “organic” nature of its many interdependent parts, Weber sought to study the experience of the individual. Weber was heavily inﬂuenced by Marx’s theories, especially the idea that modern capitalist society is depersonalizing and alienating. He disagreed, however, with Marx’s materialist approach and its emphasis on economics rather than culture and ideas, and with Marx’s belief in the inevitability of proletarian revolution. Instead, The 1936 ﬁlm Modern Times depicts actor Charlie Chaplin as an assembly line worker subject to the dehumanizing effects of modernity and rationalization. ...the world could one day be ﬁlled with nothing but those little cogs, little men clinging to little jobs and striving toward bigger ones. Max Weber Weber synthesized ideas from both Marx and Durkheim to develop his own distinctive sociological analysis, examining the effects of what he saw as the most pervasive aspect of modernity: rationalization. An “iron cage” In arguably his best-known work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904–05), Weber describes the evolution of the West from a society governed by tribal custom or religious obligations to an increasingly secular organization based on the goal of economic gain. Industrialization had been achieved through advances in science and engineering, and the capitalism that accompanied it called for purely rational decisions based on efﬁciency and cost-beneﬁt analysis (assessing the beneﬁts and costs of projects). While the rise The fate of our times is characterized... above all... by the disenchantment of the world. Max Weber of capitalism had brought many material beneﬁts, it also had numerous social drawbacks; traditional cultural and spiritual values had been supplanted by rationalization, which brought with it a sense of what Weber called “disenchantment” as the ❯❯ 42 MAX WEBER intangible, mystical side of many people’s day-to-day lives was replaced by cold calculation. Weber recognized the positive changes brought about by increased knowledge, and the prosperity that resulted from logical decision-making rather than the dictates of outdated religious authorities. But rationalization was also changing the administration of society by increasing the level of bureaucracy in all kinds of organizations. Having been brought up in Prussia, where wellestablished military efﬁciency became the model for the newly industrialized state, this development would have been especially noticeable to Weber. Bureaucracy, Weber believed, was both inevitable and necessary in modern industrial society. Its machinelike effectiveness and efﬁciency is what enables society to prosper economically, which meant its growth in scope and power was apparently unstoppable. However, whereas the eclipse of religion meant that people were liberated from irrational social norms, a bureaucratic structure imposed a new form of control and threatened to stiﬂe the very individualism that had led people to reject dogmatic religious authority. Many members of modern society now felt trapped by the rigid rules of bureaucracy, as if in an “iron cage” of rationalization. Moreover, bureaucracies tend to produce hierarchical organizations that are impersonal, and with standardized procedures that overrule individualism. Dehumanization Weber was concerned with these effects on the individual “cogs in the machine." Capitalism, which had promised a technological utopia with the individual at its heart, had instead created a society dominated by work and money, The fully developed bureaucratic apparatus compares with other organizations exactly as does the machine with the non-mechanical modes of production. Max Weber overseen by an uncompromising bureaucracy. A rigid, rule-based society not only tends to restrict the individual, but also has a dehumanizing effect, making people feel as though they are at the mercy of a logical but godless system. The power and authority of a rational bureaucracy also affects the relationships and interactions of individuals—their social actions. These actions are no longer based on ties of family or community, nor traditional values and beliefs, but are geared toward efﬁciency and the achievement of speciﬁc goals. Because the primary goal of rationalization is to get things done efﬁciently, the desires of the individual are subservient to the goals of the organization, leading to a loss of individual autonomy. Although there is a greater degree of interdependence between people as jobs become more and more specialized, individuals feel that The German Chancellery in Berlin is the headquarters of the German government. The civil servants who work there are a bureaucracy tasked with implementing government policy. FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 43 their worth in society is determined by others rather than by their own skills or craftsmanship. The desire for self-improvement is replaced with an obsessive ambition to acquire a better job, more money, or a higher social status, and creativity is valued less than productivity. In Weber’s view, this disenchantment is the price modern society pays for the material gains achieved by bureaucratic rationalization. The social changes it causes are profound, affecting not only our system of morality but also our psychological and cultural makeup. The erosion of spiritual values means our social actions are instead based on calculations of cost and beneﬁt, and become a matter more of administration than moral or social guidance. Social actions and class While Weber often despaired of the soulless side of modern society, he was not completely pessimistic. Bureaucracies may be difﬁcult to destroy, but because they are created by society he believed they can also be changed by society. Where Marx had predicted that the ...what can we oppose to this machinery... to keep a portion of mankind free from this... supreme mastery of the bureaucratic way of life. Max Weber Increased bureaucracy is, says Weber, a product of rationalization, providing society with a machinelike organization that promotes efﬁciency. However, to work within an administrative apparatus can lead to individual disenchantment: with little scope for personal initiative and creativity, a bureaucrat can feel their lot is one of monotonous and repetitive paperwork. exploitation and alienation of the proletariat by capitalism would inevitably lead to revolution, Weber felt communism led to even greater bureaucratic control than capitalism. Instead, he advocated that within a liberal democracy, bureaucracy should only have as much authority as members of society are prepared to allow it. This is, he said, determined by the social actions of individuals as they try to improve their lives and their “life chances” (or opportunities). Just as society had progressed from the “charismatic” authority of kinship ties and religion, through the patriarchal authority of feudal society, to the modern authority of rationalization and bureaucracy, so too individual behavior had evolved from emotional, traditional, and value-based social actions to “instrumental action”—action based on the assessment of costs and consequences, which Weber considered the culmination of rational conduct. In addition, he identiﬁed three elements of social stratiﬁcation in which these social actions could be taken, affecting different aspects of a person’s “life chances." As well as the economically determined social class, there is also status class based on less tangible attributes such as honor and prestige, and party class based on political afﬁliations. Together these help the individual to establish a distinct position in society. A gradual acceptance Weber’s innovative perspective formed the foundation of one of the major approaches to sociology in the 20th century. By introducing the idea of a subjective, interpretive ❯❯ 44 MAX WEBER examination of individuals’ social actions, he offered an alternative to Durkheim’s positivism by pointing out that the methodology of the natural sciences is not appropriate to the study of the social sciences, and to Marx’s materialist determinism by stressing the importance of ideas and culture over economic considerations. Although Weber's ideas were highly inﬂuential among his contemporaries in Germany, such as Werner Sombart and Georg Simmel, they were not widely accepted. He was regarded in his lifetime as a historian and economist rather than a sociologist, and it was not until much later that his work received the attention it deserved. Many of his works were only published posthumously, and few were translated until well after his death. Sociologists at the beginning of the 20th century felt antipathy toward Weber's approach because they were anxious to establish the Franz Kafka, a contemporary of Weber, wrote stories depicting a dystopian bureaucracy. His work engages with Weberian themes such as dehumanization and anonymity. No one knows who will live in this cage in the future, or whether... there will be a great rebirth of old ideas and ideals... Max Weber credentials of sociology as a science; his notion of subjective verstehen and his examination of individual experience rather than of society as a whole was seen as lacking the necessary rigor and objectivity. And some critics, especially those steeped in the ideas of Marxian economic determinism, disputed Weber’s account of the evolution of Western capitalism. Nevertheless, Weber’s ideas gradually became accepted, as the inﬂuence of Durkheim’s positivism began to wane. Weber was, for example, an inﬂuence on the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, centered around Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. These thinkers held that traditional Marxist theory could not fully account for the path taken by Western capitalist societies, and so sought to draw on Weber's antipositivist sociological approach and analysis of rationalization. Escaping the rise of Nazism, members of the Frankfurt School took these ideas to the US, where Weber's insights were enthusiastically received, and where his inﬂuence was strongest in the period following World War II. In particular, American sociologist Talcott Parsons attempted to reconcile Weber’s ideas with the then dominant positivist tradition in sociology established by Durkheim, and to incorporate them into his own theories. Parsons also did much to popularize Weber and his ideas within US sociology, but it was Charles Wright Mills who, with Hans Heinrich Gerth, brought the most important of Weber’s writings to the attention of the Englishspeaking world with their translation and commentary in 1946. Wright Mills was especially inﬂuenced by Weber’s theory of the “iron cage” of rationality, and developed this theme in his own analysis of social structures, in which he showed that Weber’s ideas had more signiﬁcant implications than had previously been thought. The rational gone global By the 1960s, Weber had become mainstream, and his interpretive approach had all but replaced the positivism that had dominated sociology since Durkheim. In the last decades of the 20th century, Weber’s emphasis on the social actions of individuals, and their relationship to the power exerted by a rationalized modern society, provided a framework for contemporary sociology. More recently, sociologists such as British theorist Anthony Giddens have focused on the contrast between Durkheim’s approach to society as a whole, and Weber’s concentration on the individual as the unit of study. Giddens points out that neither approach is completely right or wrong, but instead exempliﬁes one of two different perspectives—the macro and micro. Another aspect of Weber’s work—that of culture and ideas shaping our social structures FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 45 The conditions within semiconductor fabrication plants, where workers wear masks and “bunny suits," are a visible symptom of rationalization and the stiﬂing of human interactions. more than economic conditions— has been adopted by a British school of thought that has given rise to the ﬁeld of cultural studies. Weber and Marx In many ways, Weber’s analysis proved more prescient than Marx’s. Despite his dismissal of Marx’s interpretation of the inevitability of historical change, Weber predicted the endurance, and global triumph, of the capitalist economy over traditional models as a result of rationalization. He also foresaw that a modern technological society would rely upon an efﬁcient bureaucracy, and that any problems would not be of structure but management and competence: too rigid a bureaucracy would paradoxically decrease rather than increase efﬁciency. More signiﬁcantly, Weber realized that materialism and rationalization created a soulless “iron cage," and if unchecked would Max Weber lead to tyranny. Where Marx had a vision of workers’ emancipation and the establishment of a utopian communist state, Weber argued that in modern industrial society everybody's lives—those of both owners and workers—are shaped by the ongoing conﬂict between impersonal, organizational efﬁciency and individual needs and desires. And in recent decades, this has proved to be the case, as economic “rational calculation” has led to the eclipse of high-street sole traders by supermarkets and shopping malls, and the export of manufacturing and clerical jobs from the West to lower-wage economies worldwide. The hopes and desires of individuals have, in many cases, been contained by the iron cage of rationalization. ■ Max Weber is one of the founding fathers of sociology, along with Karl Marx and Émile Durkheim. Born in Erfurt into a German middle-class intellectual family, Weber received his doctorate in 1888 and held professorial posts at the universities of Berlin, Freiburg, and Heidelberg. His knowledge of economics, history, politics, religion, and philosophy serve as the terrain out of which so much sociological thinking in these areas has developed and grown. Although Weber’s professional legacy remains outstanding, his personal life was a troubled one, and in 1897 he had a breakdown following the death of his father. In spite of his untimely death in 1920, at the age of 56, Weber’s account of the role of religion in the rise of capitalism remains a sociological classic. Key works 1904–1905 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 1919–1920 General Economic History 1921–1922 Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology 46 MANY PERSONAL TROUBLES MUST BE UNDERSTOOD IN TERMS OF PUBLIC ISSUES CHARLES WRIGHT MILLS (1916–1962) IN CONTEXT FOCUS The sociological imagination KEY DATES 1848 In The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels describe progress in terms of class struggles and depict capitalist society as a conﬂict between the bourgeoisie and proletariat. 1899 In The Theory of the Leisure Class, Thorstein Veblen suggests that the business class pursues proﬁt at the expense of progress or social welfare. 1904–05 Max Weber describes a society stratiﬁed by class, status, and power in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. 1975 Michel Foucault looks at power and resistance in Discipline and Punish. D uring the Cold War that developed after World War II, very few US sociologists openly adopted a socialist standpoint, particularly during the anti-communist witch-hunt that was known as McCarthyism. Yet Charles Wright Mills went against the grain; his most inﬂuential books criticized the military and commercial power elites of his time. Wright Mills risked not only falling foul of the authorities during this “Red Scare” era of the 1940s and 1950s, but also rejection by mainstream sociologists. However, he was no apologist for Marxist ideology and instead presented a FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIOLOGY 47 See also: Karl Marx 28–31 ■ Max Weber 38–45 ■ Michel Foucault 52–55 ■ Friedrich Engels 66–67 Richard Sennett 84–87 ■ Herbert Marcuse 182–87 ■ Thorstein Veblen 214–19 ■ Many personal troubles must be understood in terms of public issues. But ordinary people do not link their troubles with the issues of society as a whole. A “sociological imagination” can grasp this link and help transform individual lives by tackling social problems. Social scientists have a moral duty to use their knowledge to reveal individual–social connections objectively. critique of the effects of modernity, pointing out what he saw as the complacency among his fellow intellectuals that had allowed the oppression of “mass society.” Wright Mills’ maverick stance belied the ﬁrm foundations on which it was based. He had been a brilliant and uncompromising student of sociology, and especially admired the work of Max Weber, whose idea of rationalization inspired the central theme of his own social thinking. Dehumanized society For Weber, modern society was replacing traditional customs and values with rational decisionmaking in a dehumanizing process that affected not only the culture but also the structure of society. He noted that rational social organization is not necessarily based on reason, or for the welfare of all. Weber also provided Wright Mills with a more sophisticated notion of class than the simple economic model proposed by Marx, introducing the elements of status and power as well as wealth. With a thorough understanding of Weber’s theories, and the belief that they were more radical than had been thought previously, Wright Mills set about applying them to his own analysis of the effects of rationalization in mid20th century Western society. He focused his attention ﬁrst on the working class in the US, criticizing organized labor for collaborating with capitalists and thus allowing them to continue to oppress the workforce. But his was not a Marxist attack on capitalism; he felt Marxism failed to address the social and cultural issues associated with the dominance of commercial industry. Next, he examined the most obvious product of rationalization: the bureaucratic middle classes. He maintained that by the mid20th century the US middle classes, alienated from the processes of production, had become divorced from traditional values, such as pride in craftsmanship, and dehumanized by ever-increasing rationalization. In his view, they were now “cheerful robots”— ﬁnding pleasure in material things, but intellectually, politically, and socially apathetic—without any control over their circumstances. The failure of the working class, and the inability of the middle class, to take control allowed ❯❯ Let every man be his own methodologist, let every man be his own theorist. Charles Wright Mills 48 CHARLES WRIGHT MILLS The collapse of the auto industry in Detroit brought ruin to the city, b