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Society Gerhard Lenski: Society and Technology Karl Marx: Society and Conflict Max Weber: The rationalization of Society Emil Durkheim: Society and Function – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Society

  • Gerhard Lenski Society and Technology
  • Karl Marx Society and Conflict
  • Max Weber The rationalization of Society
  • Emil Durkheim Society and Function
  • Critical Evaluation

Gerhard Lenski Society and Technology
  • What are some of the differences between
    societies? How do societies change?, and What
    forces divide a society or hold it together.
  • Sociolcultural evolution- refers to the changes
    that occur as a society acquires new technology.

Hunting and Gathering Societies
  • From the emergence of our species 3 million years
    ago until just 12,000 years ago, all humans were
    hunters and gatherers.
  • Hunting and Gathering- the use of simple tools to
    hunt animals and gather vegetation.

Horticulture and Pastoral Societies
  • 1200 years ago people discovered horticulture.
  • Horticultural- the use of hand tools to raise
    crops. People used a hoe to work the soil and a
    digging stick to punch holes in the ground to
    plant seeds. This was a huge break through, it
    allowed people to grow their own food instead of
    hunting and gathering it.

  • Humans first planted gardens in the Middle East
    and then in Latin America and Asia. Within 5000
    years horticulture spread throughout most of the

  • Pastorialism- refers to the domestication of
  • Tribes who became pastoral remained nomadic
    compared to horticulture communities who were
    more likely to remain in one place for a while.

Agarian Societies
  • About 5000 years ago agriculture was discovered
    by the Middle East and then spread to most of the
  • Agriculture- large scale cultivation using plows
    harnessed to animals or more powerful energy
  • Plowing allowed people to cultivate large amounts
    of land and aerating the soil increased fertility.

  • Among hunting and gathering and also horticulture
    societies women were the primary role of
    providers of food. Agriculture however propels
    men into a social dominant role.
  • Agrarian societies have the greatest
    specialization and the most social inequality.
    This technology gives people a greater range of
    life choices, which is why agrarian societies
    differ more from one another than horticulture
    and pastoral societies.

Industrial Societies
  • Industrialism- is the production of goods using
    advanced sources of energy to drive large
  • People went to the cities to work, leaving behind
    close kinship ties. Rapid change and movement
    from place to place generated anonymity, cultural
    diversity, and numerous subcultures and

Postindustrial Societies
  • Postindustrialism- refers to technology that
    supports an information-based economy.
  • The Limits of Technology
  • Technology remedies many human problems, it
    raises production, reduces infectious diseases.
    It however does not eliminate hunger and is not a
    quick fix for social problems.

Karl Marx Society and Conflict
  • Marx struggled with the basic contradiction of so
    many people being so rich and so many people
    being so poor.
  • Social Conflict- struggle between segments of
    society over valued resources.

Society and Production
  • Marx observed the early stage of industrial
    capitalism in Europe.
  • Capitalists- people who own and operate factories
    and other businesses in pursuit of profit.
  • Proletarians- people who sell their productivity
    labor for wages.
  • Conflict between capitalists and workers is
    inevitable in a system of capitalist production.

  • Social Institutions- the major sphere of social
    life, or societal subsystems, organized to meet
    human needs.

  • Marxs argued that one institution- the
    economy-dominates all the others and defines the
    character of a society.
  • False Consciousness- explanations of social
    problems as the shortcomings of individuals
    rather than the flaws of society.
  • Capitalism and Class Conflict- Marx wrote the
    Manifesto of the Communist Party, where he
    described the two major social classes of
    Industrial Capitalism the ruling class and the
    oppressed class.

  • Class Conflict- conflict between entire classes
    over the distribution of a societys wealth and
  • Class Consciousness- workers recognition of
    themselves as a class unified in opposition to
    capitalist and, ultimately, to capitalism itself.

Capitalism and AlienationMarx
  • Alienation- the experience of isolation and
    misery resulting from powerlessness.
  • 1. Alienation from the act of working.
  • 2. Alienation from the products of work.
  • 3. Alienation from other workers.
  • 4. Alienation from human potential.

  • The only way out of the trap of capitalism,
    argued Marx, is to remake society.

Max Weber The Rationalization of Society
  • Tradition- sediments and beliefs passed from
    generation to generation.
  • Rationality- deliberate, matter-of-fact
    calculation of the most efficient means to
    accomplish a particular task.

Is Capitalism Rational?
  • Weber and Marx are on opposite side of the
  • Weber considered industrial capitalism the
    essence of rationality because capitalists pursue
    profit in whatever ways they can.
  • Marx believed capitalism was irrational because
    it failed to meet the basic needs of most people
    on earth.

Webers Great Thesis Protestantism and
Capitalism Calvinism
  • Rational Social Organization

  • 1. Distinctive social institutions.
  • 2. Large-scale organizations.
  • 3. Specialized tasks.
  • 4. Personal discipline.
  • 5. Awareness of time.
  • 6. Technical competence.
  • 7. Impersonality.

Rationality and Beaucreacy-
  • The Medieval church grew large, but it remained
    basically traditional and resisted change,
    according to Weber.

Rationality and Alienation
  • Max Weber like Karl Marx recognized the
    efficiency of capitalism. Weber also agreed that
    modern society generates widespread alienation.

Emile Durkheim Society and Function
Structure Society Beyond Ourselves
  • Durkheim recognized that society exists beyond
    ourselves. Society is more than the individuals
    who compose it society has a life of its own
    that stretches beyond our personal experiences.

Social facts-
  • Patterns of behaviorcultural norms, values and
    beliefsexist as established structures and are
    social facts that have an objective reality
    beyond the lives of individuals.

Function Society as System-
  • The significance of any social fact, he
    explained, is more than what individuals see in
    our immediate lives social facts help society as
    a whole to operate.

Personality Society in Ourselves
  • Society is beyond ourselves and also in
    ourselves. Each of us builds a personality by
    internalizing social facts. How we act, think,
    and feelour essential humanityis drawn from the
    society that nurtures us.

Modernity and Anomie
  • Anomie- a condition in which society provides
    little moral guidance to individuals.

  • Mechanical Solidarity- social bonds based on
    common sentiments and shared moral value that are
    strong among members of preindustrial societies.
  • With industrialization Durkheim believed that
    mechanical solidarity becomes weaker, and people
    cease to be bound by tradition.

  • Organic Solidarity- social bonds based on
    specialized and interdependence that are strong
    among members of industrial societies.
    Solidarity is based on differences among people.
  • Division of Labor- a specialization of economic

Durkheims Delimma
  • The technological power and greater personal
    freedom of modern society come at the cost of
    declining morality and the rising risk of anomie.

Critical Evaluation
  • What holds Societies together?
  • How have Societies changed?
  • Why do Societies change?