Term Paper: Sociology With the Emergence of Karl Marx

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Sociology

With the emergence of Karl Marx's conflict theory, which posits that oppression against the working class by the elite class is inherent in a capitalist society, feminist ideology had developed. Feminism looks critically at the gender inequality that has been prevalent in capitalist societies since the dawn of the Industrial revolution. Under this ideology, its proponents argue that men and women should be considered equal under the domains of economics, politics, and as a member of the civil society. Throughout the years, this too general definition developed and branched out to include other categorizations of feminism, such as cultural feminism, ecofeminism, libertarian feminism, moderate feminism, N.O.W. feminism, radical feminism, and separatists, among others. Each kind of feminism varies from the other based on the central focus that it promotes; cultural feminism, for example, critically looks at gender inequality based on the 'culture of gender' the behavior and actions subsisted to by men and women in their society, as dictated by the society's perception of each sex's gender, while material feminism looks at gender inequality based on material wealth, wherein maldistribution of goods among the females is considered a form of unequal treatment as compared to the males.

An example of feminist thinking in the everyday activities of people is the seemingly prejudiced role that women play in the business sector. It is evident that even though society has progressed and cultivated a more liberal outlook about how society should treat and perceive women, today's job offerings for women in the business sector relegates them to the role of 'gendered' work roles, such as being a secretary in an office, as compared to the male executive or president of the company who enjoys a relatively higher salary and greater privilege than the female employees.

The tradition of positivism in the field of social sciences gave birth to the development of empirical studies about the nature of humanity and its natural (as well as social) environment. Under the positivist theory, human knowledge is acquired through sensory experience, and there is evident deviation from theistic thinking towards empirically testing the existence and nature of a particular phenomenon, be it naturally- or socially-occurring. Positivism also led to the development of the scientific method of studying humanity and the natural and social environment, which promotes values of experimentation and objectivism, which are keys to success towards obtaining knowledge. This tradition is introduced by August Comte, in which he argues that scientific development during the 19th century paved the way for speculative philosophy to gradually lose its influence in philosophy and the natural sciences. This assertion demonstrates a shift of human thought from theism (knowledge obtained from religion) towards empiricism (knowledge obtained from sensory experience and observation).

The tradition of positivism is reflected in the rigor of scientific research given by scientists and academicians in the fields of natural and social sciences. The development of quantitative and qualitative forms of research is an example of the influence of empiricism that is inherent in positivism, which puts importance on strict adherence to scientific method in answering basic as well as complex research questions about natural and social phenomena in human society and environment. Through positivism, humanity is able to answer the questions it generates as people continue to pursue knowledge and the truth as accurately and objectively as possible, through empirical methods and analysis such as quantitative and qualitative forms of research (both in the natural and social sciences).

Postmodernism, an ideology that emerged after the period of modernism in human society is determined and identified through its subsistence to the principle that there is universality in human experience. That is, human phenomena and experience cannot be interpreted by one or two perspectives, but rather, multiple perspectives that are ultimately determined subjectively by the individual. Since postmodernism as an ideology per se cannot be determined generally and holistically, it is characterized by the universality of human experience -- that is, the processes of reasoning and language (speaking) and the phenomena of science, religion, as well as human society is explained through subjective and multiple interpretations of these processes and phenomena. In the field of science, postmodernists reject the deterministic nature of human knowledge and instead, take into account the limitations of human's capacity to understand and obtain knowledge empirically. Language and the process of interaction in human society are determined and interpreted based on the context in which the language is uttered and the social action was accomplished or conducted, respectively.

The influence of postmodernism is most evident in works of art it through the visual arts and literature. For example, the literary work of e. e. cummings serve as illustrations of how feelings and human experience through a literary medium such as poetry became possible. Analyses of e. e. cummings' poems demonstrate a deviation from the conventional form of poetry form and style, and the non-deterministic quality of his poems provides his readers an idea that his literary works, and in fact, the poet, is greatly influenced by the principles of postmodernism.

Studying the way humans interact and communicate with other people is known in the field of sociology as socialization, a process wherein humans become social actors 'acting out' actions and behavior that is considered as part of the society's culture and norms. Just as an individual influences and has a significant role in changing the structure of society, it is through socialization that society asserts and influences itself upon the individual, in which the social structures and norms subsisted by the majority are inculcated and reinforced within the individual, thereby inducing within the individual's psyche to conform with his/her society. Of course, different societies have different ways of socializing with other people, and these forms of socialization ultimately reflects the kind of culture a particular society has. For example, a collectivist society that is characteristic of nations and societies in the Asian region cultivates socialization through cooperation and maintenance of harmonious relationships among other people. An individualist society, such as the American society, meanwhile, cultivates socialization that is based on friendly competition. Socialization is vital for an individual to survive society and life, mainly because it is through socialization that people learn to create and determine their purpose and meaning in life.

An example of socialization is evident in the practice of important events in people's lives such as the celebration of birthdays or festivals. The tradition of holding festivals is more than a commemoration of an important historic event in a particular area or place; moreover, festivals are also a celebration of the commonality in tradition, history, culture, and heritage of people as a community or society that has common values, language, and beliefs.

Consensus theories emerged from the concepts "general agreement" and "community" -- that is, these are theories that reflect the general agreement within a particular community. Going further into the nature of a consensus theory, it is characterized by the stressing the importance of harmony and unity within the society, the functionality of social structures and institutions, as well as concepts of cooperation, interdependence, and integration among members of the society. It is important to note that consensus theories may or may not benefit the majority; thus, it differs from functional and structural theories, which center on the functions of institutions and structures within society, respectively. This paradigm is primarily centered on formulating a resolution to a particular problem or endeavor that needs to be accomplished or enacted.

Literature cites the principles of groupthink as a form of consensus theory. Introduced and conceptualized by the social scientist Irving Janis, groupthink is a reflection of strong group integration that is evident in the military and among organizations such as fraternities and sororities. In groupthink, there is strong cohesiveness among the members, they have similar attitudes, and are interdependent on each other in arriving at decisions. Groupthink is reflected when the members think that a difficulty or problem cannot be resolved without the group's help; thus, groupthink promotes group cohesiveness and dependence. At the same time, cultivates the negative group behavior towards outsiders, as the members become too selective in socializing with other people, too confident in their (the group) ideas, limits creative and critical thinking among its members.

Globalization is a concept that emerged with the development of the capitalist economic system. In globalization, a "denationalization of markets" takes place, wherein goods and services produced within a country (e.g., United States) are made available in other countries (e.g., countries in Asia such as Japan, Korea, and China). However, globalization looks beyond the economic processes that operate in the international market; it also includes an analysis and determination of the political and social processes that happen as these economic processes takes place. Through the concept of globalization, awareness of the environmental consequences of industrialization in an agricultural country is contemplated as foreign companies invest and establish their business in this country. Similarly, multinational companies also consider the possible political repercussions that capitalism can bring in an agricultural or less industrialized country.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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