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In this assignment I will give a brief overview of three sociological theorists; Marx, Weber and Durkheim. I will then try to evaluate in detail the contribution and relevance of Durkheim’s theories in relation to understanding modern day Ireland. The literal meaning of the word ‘Sociology’ comes from the Greek “soci” which means “society” and the Latin “ology” which means “study of.” Anthony Giddens (“Sociology”, 1989) provides the following general definition: “Sociology is the study of human social life, groups and societies. It is a dazzling and compelling enterprise, having as its subject matter our own behaviour as social beings. The scope of sociology is extremely wide, ranging from the analysis of passing encounters between individuals in the street up to the investigation of world-wide social processes”. Sociology is basically the study of groups of individuals. Each individual is unique but they act in patterns. Sociologists study how we behave when we interact socially and how social structures (organisations, groups etc.), social categories (sex, race etc.) and social institutions (education, religion etc.) shapes our behaviour. Sociologists study everything from the micro level to the macro level and everything in between. The micro level is the approach that focuses on the behavior of how humans interact socially on a day to day basis on a small group level. The macro level is the study of the ‘big picture’, society as a whole. This focuses on large social units which operate at a national or a global level. Karl Marx (1818-1883), Max Weber (1864-1920) and Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) are known as the three founding fathers of sociology. These three men were the first to look at society, develop theories about what they saw and try to find ways to fix it. They were of great influence to many other sociologists who were to follow. Karl Marx was a German political...
References: Professor of Moral Theology, St Patrick 's College, Maynooth<http://www.nosp.ie/oireachtas_report.pdf.> Accessed27/10/2013 at 18.00
Durkheim, E, 1912, ‘The Elementary forms of the religious life, Free press, New York
Durkheim, E, 1895 ‘Rules for the Sociological Method’ New York: Free Press
Giddens, A, 1989, ‘Sociology’, Polity Press, Cambridge, UK
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