Compare And Contrast Sociology Essay

Topics: Sociology, Max Weber, Karl Marx Pages: 3 (944 words) Published: March 15, 2015

Compare and contrast Durkheim, Weber and Marx within the structure-agency and conflict-consensus frameworks.

Alexandra Jonsson
Student number: 15010580
Tutorial timeslot: Tuesday, 9:30-10:20
Tutor: Ashleigh

Sociology is based on two frameworks, namely structure-agency and conflict-consensus. These frameworks center around three founders of sociology, Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx and Max Weber. This essay will attempt to demonstrate which author explains sociology within which framework. The structure used for this essay will be a point-by-point structure. This essay will start off with structure, move on to agency and then to conflict and lastly conclude with consensus.

Structure is the social patterns, which influence and may restrict the choices and opportunities of the individual. Durkheim is a structuralist and explains structure through social facts. Social facts are the structures, values and norms, which surpass the individual and may lead to social constraint. Durkheim believes that structure together with hierarchy is the most important aspect of maintaining a civilized society. Similarly, Marx is also a structuralist. However, he explains structure through dialectical materialism. Through this, he believes that history is not driven by ideas but rather by economic and class interests. Thus, structure is based on what the interests of the most influential class (in an economic context) are. In contrast, Weber is not a structuralist and focuses on agency more than structure (this will be explained further later on). However he does explain structure through bureaucracy and a rational-legal model. He defines bureaucracy as routine tasks that become jurisdictional areas and are ordered by rules and regulations. Thus, structure can only optimally function if bureaucracy follows the strict rules and regulations put in place without any corruption.

On the other hand, agency is...
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