Karl Marx and Durkheim

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The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were full of evolving social and economic ideas. These views of the social structure of urban society came about through the development of ideas taken from the past revolutions. As the Industrial Revolution progressed through out the world, so did the gap between the class structures. The development of a capitalist society was a very favorable goal for the upper class. By using advanced methods of production introduced by the Industrial Revolution, they were able to earn a substantial surplus by ruling the middle class. Thus, maintaining their present class of life, while the middle class was exploited and degraded. At this time in history, social theorists like Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx challenged the aspect of social structure in their works. Emile Durkheim is known as a functionalist states that everything serves a function in society and his main concern to discover what that function was. On the other hand Karl Marx, a conflict theorist, stresses that society is a complex system characterized by inequality and conflict that generate social change. Both Durkheim and Marx were concerned with the characteristics of groups and structures rather than with individuals.

Emile Durkheim and the sociology of religion The theory claims that the real object of religious worship is not God but society itself. In The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, Durkheim argued that religion provided a framework of thought which was able to hold together the ideas and values that are shared by society. Durkheim believed that religion was no more than a reflection of the human need to be part of a community. He suggested that all societies needed to reaffirm their collective unity at times, He argued that traditional societies were 'mechanical' and were held together by the fact that everyone was more or less the same, and hence had things in common. In traditional societies, argues Durkheim, the collective consciousness entirely...
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