Sociological Perspectives of the Film 'Erin Brockovich" Essay

2197 Words Apr 26th, 2011 9 Pages
In the film Erin Brockovich, several different social theories can be related to the storyline of the film. Although different, theories from Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber can all adequately describe what happens in the film. The film is about a small law firm that takes on an extremely powerful organization, PG & E (Pacific Gas & Electric), on the account that they were knowingly polluting Hinkley, California’s water supply and harming the citizens. From Karl Marx, the film can be explained through his base-superstructure model of society, with PG & E serving as the powerful base, and the rest of society in Hinkley, CA serving as the superstructure. From Emile Durkheim, this movie can be portrayed through his …show more content…
Hinkley, CA is a very small town, where everyone is bonded by their similarities and related interests, and everyone shows a very high volume of collective consciousness. The city, along with Erin are firm believers in repressive law, which Durkheim defines as, laws based on very strong collective conscious, where any violation is seen as an offense against the society as a whole. (Sutton, 2001) Erin is a prime example of a believer in repressive law. In the beginning of the film Erin is uneducated in the field of law; she had just gotten the job as a law clerk and did not know a lot about the field. When she stumbled upon the case involving Hinkley, CA and PG & E, she immediately wanted to fight against them without knowing the whole story. She saw these violations as an offense against society as a whole, and thought they should be punished accordingly. However, as the movie continued, Erin, along with the rest of Hinkley, progressed substantially to become a much more complex society. Just as in Durkheim’s theory, society progressed from simple to complex, social solidarity progressed from mechanical to organic, and as a result law progressed from repressive to restitutive law. The city experienced a complete conversion from mechanical to organic solidarity in their society. Instead of being a simple society with members bonded solely by their similarities, they became a complex society with members bonded by their dependence on each

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