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Custom Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, Max Weber, and William Graham Sumner's Ideas of Class and Inequality essay paper
By all accounts, social stratification has clearly become one of the chief substantive "specialties" of the sociological enterprise. Even a cursory review of the discipline's major journals, for example, will reveal a startling growth in the relative number of materials devoted to the area. Understandably, of course, the greatest increment followed closely upon that series of economically and socially catastrophic events. The increasing academic specialization social stratification constitutes a most natural antidotal bridge between the entirety of sociology and many of its sister disciplines - philosophy, anthropology, economics, political science, history, psychology. In this paper I will try to analyze the views of Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, Max Weber, and William Graham Sumner - the most notable sociologists of the Western Cevilization. What little Marx mentions on crime in his studies centers on this idea that crime is just the rebellious struggle of the economically disadvantaged against those in power, arising from frustration and feelings of inequality. There are two classifications of Marxist theories. When the state and its law are the tool of the power class to control the working class and production, while protecting capitalist economic order, it is referred to as instrumental Marxism. Structural Marxism, the more popular of the two divisions of the theory, states criminal law is explained via socioeconomic origins. Laws don't always support the ruling class but support the capitalist system, overall. As earlier stated, crime is the result of the demoralization of the working and unemployed.
Demoralization is a result of lack of self-worth and productiveness. This demoralization breads resentment and results in deviant behavior against the power system. Marx saw the rise of the bourgeoisie as a significant moment, he also saw the bourgeoisie as a progressive force in human history. In Marx's dialectical scheme competition and overproduction would lead to a final catastrophic crisis. Additionally, the proletariat would recognize its alienation, and would gradually begin to fight back; culminating in a revolution. The similarities between de Tocqueville's ideas and Marx's ideas were as such; they both saw that society of that time was divided and organized based on classes: according to claims of privilege based on wealth and property ownership. This class conflict was an essential force in the French Revolution. De Tocqueville and Marx also acknowledged that revolutions are inspired by hope. The differences between de Tocqueville and Marx were as follows: de Tocqueville believed that feudalism and capitalism did not clash at the same moment in history; he saw that feudalism was an already dying institution. Marx, on the other hand, believed that capitalism would destroy itself from its own success; he saw that capitalism has a tendency to overproduce and that it leads to crisis, breakdown, and depression. De Tocqueville did not believe that the revolution began the centralization of the state. Instead he found that this began as early as Louis XIV and continued under the reforms called the in tendencies. Human existence, according to de Tocqueville, cannot be reduced exclusively to material circumstances; beliefs and ideals inspire human action and liberty. Weber, on the other hand, stated the dysfunction of bureaucracy in terms of the impact that it had on individuals. Its major advantage, efficiency in attaining goals, makes it unwieldy in dealing with individual cases. The impersonality, so important in attaining efficiency of the organization, is dehumanizing. ...
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