Why Can Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx Be Regarded as Structuralists?

Topics: Sociology, Anthropology, Marxism Pages: 4 (1307 words) Published: August 14, 2013
Sociology is the study of society or the way society is organized and it is a broad discipline thus it has no boundaries. I personally believe and feel that societies differ because the kind of behavior considered appropriate in them differs. People in other societies think and behave differently because they have learned different rules about how to behave and think. In sociology we have three sociological perspectives: functionalism, structuralism and social interactionism but In this essay I would only be focusing on one perspective and that is structuralism, which analyses the way society as a whole fits together. I would also be explaining on how both Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim contributed to structuralism and why they can be regarded as structuralists. WHAT IS STRUCTURALISM AND HOW DID IT COME ABOUT?

Structuralism is a sociological approach concerned with studying and explaining how social structure holds society together. (Fox, 2012) alternately as summarized by philosopher Simon Blackburn, structuralism is the belief that phenomena of human life are not intelligible except through their interrelations. These relations constitute a structure, and behind local variations in the surface phenomena there are constant laws of abstract culture but (Haralambos, 2007) says that structuralism analyses the basic structures underlying human thinking and human social groups. In short, structuralism defines reality in terms of the relations between elements, not in terms of things and social facts.( Alan,1991)the basic principle of structuralism is that the observable is meaningful only in so far as it can be related to an underlying structure or order. Structuralism originated in the early 1900s and according to (Haralambos, 2007) Claude Levi Strauss was the first to develop structuralism and he was using it to understand such things as kinship systems and myths. Levi said structural factors pattern our cultural expression or thinking and these...
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