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Sociological Theories - Book Report/Review Example

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Sociological Theories

In this essay, the theories of mile Durkheim's social facts and Max Weber's bureaucracy will be discussed with comparisons and contrasts.
According to Durkheim, social facts are things that influence people's behaviour and these things can include jobs, money, education or marital status (http://www.cf.ac.uk/socsi/undergraduate/introsoc/durkwrk.html, 1977). These are things external to an individual, but yet are considered as powerful determinants to the patterns of behaviour that are evident in individuals. Thus, an individual will feel the constraints with or without these factors, if these become embedded in the consciousness of an individual because of its ability to direct an individual's desires.
Having established that the society influences an individual's interests and directs an individual's desires, Durkheim went on to study the characteristics of two different religious groups and the behaviour of its respective followers. In this study, Durkheim found that social integration, or the lack of, of a group affects the behaviour of individuals, whether good or bad. This social integration includes specific social attachments among individuals as well as the degree to which they share common sentiments and beliefs (Classical Stage European Sources of Sociological Theory, 2008). Durkheim believes that strengthening the adherence to a moral code would be suitable in securing social integration within the society. He also highlighted the importance of division of labour in creating harmony between people.

Max Weber's Bureaucracy
Max Weber, another classical sociology theorist, formulated the characteristics of bureaucracy. He believes that rationalisation is an ideal form of bureaucracy, whereas traditional forms are irrational. The traditional forms may use social factors, like religion, to explain the social world and that authority may also be derived from these. Weber regards these methods as having no systematic form of development, and that continued reliance on non-rational form will occur (http://uregina.ca/gingrich/o14f99.htm, 1999).

In his theory, Weber states that the proper way of doing things through bureaucracy by establishing rules and regulations will improve social situations and benefit the economies. However, he also acknowledges the dysfunctional aspect of this theory, which is the abuse of power.

3 COMPARISONS AND CONTRASTS
On Society
In comparison, both Durkheim and Weber emphasise the knowledge that both theories dominate lives and therefore society is seen as a living thing. This is because both theories of social facts and bureaucracy believe that social factors affect the way people behave. In social facts, society brings about collective conscience that results in common social bond expressed by ideas, norms and beliefs (Kilcullen, 1996).

The reliable and clear system that the rational approach to bureaucracy renders makes the subordinate more independent and discrete (http://faculty.babson.edu/krollag/org_site/encyclop/bureaucracy.html), leading to a more effective organisation. This basis is fundamental part of how society is organised.

On People
In contrast, Weber states that ...Show more

Summary

There have been ongoing interests in the social events that affect people's lives, both in good and bad ways. Sociological theories have been developed and introduced as far as a few hundred years ago to address this issue and to better understand the reasons behind people's behaviour…
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