Sociology and Modernity

Topics: Sociology, Max Weber, Karl Marx Pages: 4 (1246 words) Published: February 15, 2011

Modernity and Classical Social Theory
Modernity is one phrase that is complex to define. This is because no precise definition of modernity that is globally accepted has been decided upon. This is inclusive of the sociology field that has seen so many theories brought about to define modernity. However, we can have a general definition defining modernity as a post-middle age era that is discernible with a drastic change from the pre-modern concept of agrarianism to a world of industrialization, capitalism, urbanization, rationalization and general social change that was tremendously adopted by the entire world, though having its root origins in Europe in the times around 1700. Renaissance was the immediate time that preceded modernity; renaissance in this case referring to the last moments of the middle-aged era. This era was all about scientific and industrial revolution that saw the rise of many inventions that have come to define the modernity of modernization. The social change can be attributed to the enlightenment of human kind as Immanuel Kant stated in one of his famous books. Many definitions have been thus brought up in the field of sociology and by different philosophers.

Karl Marx defines modernity as a capitalist revolution. Capitalism is a state of economic status that is based on individualism in that an individual invests in different ownerships or businesses for the sole purpose of personal benefits or for profit motive. He therefore sees modernity as an evil phenomenon and seriously criticizes it. On the other hand, Max Weber defines modernity on the basis of personal beliefs that eventually lead to the social changes that occur in modernization. He sees modernity as a trend that leads to the reduction in traditional values and beefs up rationalization that he so much fears would eventually corrode off humanity. He is so pessimistic on the effects of modernity given the mean definition that he gives to...

Cited: Calhoun, Craig, Gerteis, Joseph, Moody, James, Pfaff, Steven and Virk, Indermohan. Classical Sociological Theory. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell Publisher, 2007, p 34-46.
Calhoun, Craig J., Gerteis, Joseph and Moody, James. Contemporary Sociological Theory. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell Publisher, 2007, p 129-122. Print.
Macionis, John J. Social Change: Traditional, Modern, and Postmodern Societies. 3 April 2005. content.html. 14 February 2011.
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