Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Simmel: the Individual & Society

3539 words 15 pages
Each of the four classical theorists Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Simmel had different theories of the relationship between society and the individual. It is the objective of this paper to critically evaluate the sociological approaches of each theory to come to a better understanding of how each theorist perceived such a relationship and what it means for the nature of social reality. Karl Marx noted that society was highly stratified in that most of the individuals in society, those who worked the hardest, were also the ones who received the least from the benefits of their labor. In reaction to this observation, Karl Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto where he described a new society, a more perfect society, a communist society. Marx …show more content…

It would be in the capitalists' interests to have as much of that money going to them, and as little as possible go to the workers, however since it is the goal of the capitalist to make more money at the expense or exploitation of the worker the latter is the case.
However, by understanding their common situation of forced poverty the proletariat would eventually be able to confront the bourgeoisie by forming as a "class for itself" instead of a dispersed "class of itself" (Marx #11 p. 252). Marx felt that the class antagonism between capitalist and workers was the basic conflict that would last as long as capitalism. Inevitably, this would cause an extreme polarization of the classes, leading eventually to the revolution that would destroy capitalism itself, and thus spell the end of all class society (Marx #11 p. 246-247).
The revolution would initially lead to a Socialist society in which the proletariat would control the state (Marx #11 p. 261). The two classes would still struggle, but eventually the struggle would recede and the classes dissolve. As class boundaries broke down, the state apparatus would wither away (Marx #11 p. 262). According to Marx, the main task of the state apparatus is to uphold the power of the ruling class; but without any classes there would be no need for a state (Marx #11 p.247). That would lead to the classless, stateless Communist society. While Marx views the relationship between the individual and society


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