Essay about Emile Durkheim vs Karl Marx

1235 Words Jul 8th, 2001 5 Pages
The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were full of evolving social and economic ideas. These views of the social structure of urban society came about through the development of ideas taken from the past revolutions. As the Industrial Revolution progressed through out the world, so did the gap between the class structures. The development of a capitalist society was a very favorable goal for the upper class. By using advanced methods of production introduced by the Industrial Revolution, they were able to earn a substantial surplus by ruling the middle class. Thus, maintaining their present class of life, while the middle class was exploited and degraded. At this time in history, social theorists like Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx …show more content…
Moreover, Durkheim compares religion to society. He says that society is the cause of the unique sensations of the religious experiences, so called "sui generis" (Ritzer, 84). This concept corresponds to the way in which society considers the things of its own experience. By the mere fact that society exists, there is a whole system of representations by means of which men understand each other. In a way collective representation guarantees objectivity because it is collective. Collective representation has been able to maintain itself because there is sufficient amount of men who accept it. Durkheim says that religious beliefs contain a truth, which must be discovered. This comes in contrast with Marx's notion that religion is nothing more than an illusion.
In contrast to the functionalist perspective stated above, the conflict perspective in society is a view of society that benefit some people more than it would others, due to their social standings. Karl Marx was a sociologist who embraced the social conflict theory and made his main goal to not just understand society but to reduce social inequality. Through dialectical materialism set by Georg Hegel, Marx was able to create a theory of a classless society. This society would be achieved through the joint union of the middle class, proletarians, and overthrow of the governing upper class, bourgeois. Marx realized that with the unification of the working class, they

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