Marx Durkheim Weber

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6. Critically examine the specific methods used by Marx, Durkheim, Weber for the analysis of social forces and relations in modern society.

Defining the concept of social forces and relations in modern society without assuming them as a derivatives of other sciences such as politics, philosophy, religion conclude us with the examination of them as the core foundation of classical sociological theory. Thus we will encounter with Durkeim, Marx and Weber’s conceptualization of social forces and relations in modern society.

The idea of totality is the common feature of the classical sociological theory even the philosophical backgrounds of Durkeim, Marx and Weber’s perspectives are differ from each other. Before, we must know that the main point of the totality is analyzing the total itself rather than looking at its parts, thus society itself becomes the central point of the analysis. If we develop a scheme that will focus on the key variables in analysis of Durkheim, Marx and Weber, these variables come out as psychology, nature and the religion. In the analysis of the society there are three fundamental variables: psychology, nature and religion that Durkheim, Marx and Weber emphasized respectively. Durkheim use psychology as basic assumption of his analysis, Marx use the nature and Weber use religion.

Durkheim is an important person for sociology because of his effort to establish sociology as a discipline distinct from philosophy and psychology. This effort is evident in the two main themes that permeate Durkheim's work: the priority of the social over the individual and the idea that society can be studied scientifically. Durkheim's concept of social facts, in particular, differentiates sociology from philosophy and psychology. Social facts are the social structures and cultural norms and values that are external to, and coercive over, individuals. Social facts are not attached to any particular individual; nor are they reducible to individual consciousness. Thus, social facts can be studied empirically. For example in “Suicide”, Durkheim explores the differing suicide rates among Protestants and Catholics, arguing that stronger social control among Catholics results in lower suicide rates. According to Durkheim, Catholic society has normal levels of integration while Protestant society has low levels. Overall, Durkheim treated suicide as a social fact, explaining variations in its rate on a macro level, considering society-scale phenomena such as lack of connections between people (group attachment) and lack of regulations of behavior, rather than individuals' feelings and motivations.

According to Durkheim, the subject matter of sociology is social facts. What was the first and outstanding feature of these methods is that as Ian Craib puts fourth that Durkheim treats social facts as things. This perspective is conceptualized as the separating social facts from ideas and ideologies and to treat them as objective whether of we think of them differently or not. This is a novel idea.We also have to distinguish social facts from individual facts this entails two distinct properties according to Ken Morrison. First one is their existence outside the individual and the second one is their precedence from individuals historically. Following this insight, Durkheim develops another rule to differentiate sociology from psychology is perhaps best seen in this work on how social facts can be used to explain suicide rates. This work is also important because of the historical comparative method that Durkheim uses to show that that suicide rates vary across societies and over time. According to Durkheim, suicide cannot simply be explained by individual psychological problems-otherwise suicide rates would be static. Durkheim argues that two social facts, in particular, influence suicide rates: integration, or the strength of attachment people feel to society, and regulation, or the degree of external constraint on...
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