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45 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Peasants are pushed off the land and into cities to work in factories as
wage laborers
Industrial Revolution
Feudal ties of Noblesse Oblige are replaced by market relations, in which
all social obligations are contractual
Industrial Revolution
Decline of monarchy and birth of democracy and modern nation-states
French Revolution
Cultural contact between European society and New
World societies force Europeans to recognize non-western beliefs and ways of
Age of Exploration
The Age of Reason (17th and 18th centuries)
Europe emerges from the Dark Ages and experiences a renaissance in art, law, and science. With science, Enlightenment thinkers believe that humanity can finally control it destiny and overcome bigotry and superstition
Intellectual movement which questions the Enlightenment principle that
humans can design or control society
Counter Enlightenment
society is conceived as a separate and constraining "thing." Humans are
products of society, not vice versa.
Counter Enlightenment
Rejection of Enlightenment individualism
Counter Enlightenment
Individuals need society to survive and to be happy; society provides its
members with meaning and purpose
Counter Enlightenment
Tempers Enlightenment faith in science and technology: Science can not
solve all human problems or make life meaningful
Counter Enlightenment
rural to urban
feature that represents the transition from traditional to modern society
personal to impersonal (small town familiarity v. big city isolation)
feature that represents the transition from traditional to modern society
religious to secular/scientific attitudes
feature that represents the transition from traditional to modern society
agrarian to industrial economic labor (peasants become wage laborers)
feature that represents the transition from traditional to modern society
sense of community to sense of individuality - commitment to social groups
gives way to self interest
feature that represents the transition from traditional to modern society
Society is moving from a homogenous entity, in which its members think and act in similar ways, to a heterogenous entity, in which its members think and act differently; from a society based on similarity, where
individuals are replicas of their parents, and are expected to conform to a
single standard of morality, to a society based on difference, where a great
degree of nonconformity, diversity, and dissent are tolerated. Modern society
is much more diverse and complex in terms of the way classes, status groups,
and power are stratified - all of these multiply in modern society (e.g., the
creation of middle classes). The irony here is that despite the increase in individual freedom, individuals become more inter-dependent on each other, especially in their work lives. As people become more different and
specialized in terms of occupation, they come to depend more on other
specialists to perform tasks they can not. For example, the more people lose the ability to cook for themselves, the more they will have to depend on restaurant workers to prepare their meals for them
feature that represents the transition from traditional to modern society
A theory of knowledge which holds that there is one social
reality "out there" that we humans can access through the scientific method. Society is conceived of as a thing or as social "matter" ("social facts") that can be studied/analyzed/counted just like physical matter. Like the
theologians and philosophers before him, Comte believed in an external and immutable reality, and an ultimate truth; the difference for him was that this "positive" reality and truth was based on scientific knowledge - facts
are gathered and systematized through careful observation and experimentation. "Positive" truth is not gained through faith (theology) or
through pure reason (metaphysics)
Science is not value-free, and knowledge is not lawful, cumulative, or external ("out there" waiting to be discovered); knowledge is a human social construction that changes; the social order is not constituted by immutable laws of society, but by changing social patterns.
These patterns (family, gender, race, class, religion, etc.) impose limits, but these limits vary by time and place, and are subject to change by human intervention (intended and unintended)
Critique of Positivism
Comte's evolutionary perspective of social change
social dynamics
i) theological ii) metaphysical iii) positivist
Comte's Law of three stages
i) militarism ii)
nationalism iii) industrialism
type of social organization accompanying each of Comte's stage
Private industrialists are the chief agents of the positivist mentality; they would apply science for the benefit of humanity; the new enlightened
Social Dynamics
The parts of society
all worker together in harmony to sustain the whole.
subordination of the individual to collective control
Altruism (Social Statics)
Family - as the primary unit of society, responsible for integrating children into society and instilling empathy for others
Altruism (Social Statics)
For most of history, the main source of social solidarity has been theologically-based religion, but Comte believed that such supernatural beliefs would be replaced by scientific belief, or a religion of humanity
(i.e., scientific humanism). Government would assume most of the social functions traditionally served by religion.
Altruism (Social Statics)
Condemns the Enlightenment principles of individualism and democracy as misguided metaphysical dogma that promote the individual at the expense of society.
Social Statics
Sociology as the study of evolution of societies, and of the relation of
the parts to the whole
Herbery Spencer
innovations in food production allow for population growth and more complex social organization, characterized by increasing a) integration b)
differentiation (i.e., division of labor) c) coherence d) definiteness
Social Evolution
metaphor equating society with biological organisms, used by Spencer
evolving from "simple" to "compound"; from "militant" to "industrial"
Spencer's type of societies
Individual as fundamental unit of society (market orientation, unlike
Comte); focus on the individual is a departure from the biological metaphor,
since individuals (as society's component parts) are capable of running their
own affairs without a centralized nerve center (central authority/government)
Spencer belief
survival of the fittest process and laissez faire doctrine
Spencer belief
government regulation of business and government
social welfare programs interfere with the operation of the free market and
obstruct natural bourgeoisie evolution by helping the weak to survive (i.e.,
social darwinism) - Spencer belief
anti-government attitude
a social system whose members are "socially equal"; a
society of equals is a society without "hereditary" advantage: no inherited
wealth, status, rank, or title; economic inequality is condoned as long as
individuals earn their own wealth
1. size and location
2. laws - checks and balances imposed by the federal constitution;
3. autonomous voluntary associations
4. religious spirit - Puritan discipline to control passions and moral authority of the "rule of law"
conditions of democracy in America
a threat to democracy in America where equality threatens liberty. Social equals demand conformity and repress individual or minority differences
tyranny of the majority
liberty threatens equality, Individual citizens
withdrawal from civil society to private life; citizens abdicate self-
government and civic duties to the central state - This is a threat to democracy in America
administrative despotism
i) break-up of decentralized small rural communities by urbanization and industrialization; ii) increasing wealth breeds complacency
underlying social causes of threats to American Democracy
working class or proletariat produces value through
its labor, but it does receive wages commensurate with that value. The owning class or bourgeoisie legally (through a labor contract) usurps these unpaid wages as profit
Labor theory of value
division of labor, or the organization of the production process. Under capitalism, the specialization of tasks is advanced through factory methods. The aim is to replace skilled craftsmen working alone in their shops with the
semi or low-skilled assembly-line laborers working together in a factory. The
result is that more products can be made more cheaply, and in less time. Production becomes infinitely more efficient, and wealth/profit grows exponentially.
Forces of production
capitalist must create a class of workers, or of "free" or dependent laborers, who have no means of subsisting except for selling their labor for wages --> surplus army of unemployed
Proletarianization - Relations of Production
Legalization of private property - workers consent to their own exploitation through legal job contracts, enforceable by law. Employers have the legal right to use the workers' labor, and the product of that labor, as
they see fit.
Relations of Production
Growing contradictions between the forces and the relations of production
a. cycle of overproduction /underconsumption
i. Capitalist forces of production create a highly efficient productive system
that constantly produces more products in less time for less cost. But at the same time, the capitalist relations of production (private ownership of property) concentrates the increasing wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer
capitalists. Workers are impoverished and can not afford to purchase the
products they make. That is, as wealth grows more abundant, it also becomes more unequally distributed. More wealth in fewer hands results in class
polarization and class conflict
Crisis of Capitalism