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Members migrate from one area to another, usually in conjunction with the seasons, settling near oases in the hot summer months. They tend to herds of goats, camels, and sheep, and they harvest dates in the fall Kjeilen N. In recent years, there has been increased conflict between the Bedouin society and more modernized societies. National borders are harder to cross now than in the past, making the traditional nomadic lifestyle of the Bedouin difficult.
The clash of traditions among Bedouin and other residents has led to discrimination and abuse. Bedouin communities frequently have high poverty and unemployment rates, and their members have little formal education Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada The future of the Bedouin is uncertain.
Government restrictions on farming and residence are slowly forcing them to integrate into modern society. Although their ancestors have traversed the deserts for thousands of years, the days of the nomadic Bedouin may be at an end. Around the same time that pastoral societies were on the rise, another type of society developed, based on the newly developed capacity for people to grow and cultivate plants. Horticultural societies formed in areas where rainfall and other conditions allowed them to grow stable crops. They were similar to hunter-gatherers in that they largely depended on the environment for survival, but since they did not have to abandon their location to follow resources, they were able to start permanent settlements.
This created more stability and more material goods and became the basis for the first revolution in human survival. While pastoral and horticultural societies used small, temporary tools such as digging sticks or hoes, agricultural societies relied on permanent tools for survival. Around BCE. Farmers learned to rotate the types of crops grown on their fields and to reuse waste products such as fertilizer, leading to better harvests and bigger surpluses of food. New tools for digging and harvesting were made of metal, making them more effective and longer lasting.
Human settlements grew into towns and cities, and particularly bountiful regions became centres of trade and commerce. This is also the age in which people had the time and comfort to engage in more contemplative and thoughtful activities, such as music, poetry, and philosophy. Craftspeople were able to support themselves through the production of creative, decorative, or thought-provoking aesthetic objects and writings. As agricultural techniques made the production of surpluses possible, social classes and power structures emerged.
Those with the power to appropriate the surpluses were able to dominate the society. Classes of nobility and religious elites developed. Difference in social standing between men and women appeared. Slavery was institutionalized. As cities expanded, ownership and protection of resources became a pressing concern and militaries became more prominent. In Europe, the ninth century gave rise to feudal societies. These societies contained a strict hierarchical system of power based around land ownership, protection, and mutual obligation. The nobility, known as lords, rewarded knights or vassals by granting them pieces of land.
In return for the resources that the land provided, vassals promised to fight for their lords. These individual pieces of land, known as fiefdoms, were cultivated by the lower class of serfs. In return for maintaining and working the land, serfs were guaranteed a place to live and protection from outside enemies. Power was handed down through family lines, with serf families serving lords for generations and generations. Ultimately, the social and economic system of feudalism was surpassed by the rise of capitalism and the technological advances of the industrial era. In the 18th century, Europe experienced a dramatic rise in technological invention, ushering in an era known as the Industrial Revolution.
Within a generation, tasks that had until this point required months of labour became achievable in a matter of days. Before the Industrial Revolution, work was largely person- or animal-based, relying on human workers or horses to power mills and drive pumps. In , James Watt and Matthew Boulton created a steam engine that could do the work of 12 horses by itself.
Steam power began appearing everywhere. Instead of paying artisans to painstakingly spin wool and weave it into cloth, people turned to textile mills that produced fabric quickly at a better price, and often with better quality. Rather than planting and harvesting fields by hand, farmers were able to purchase mechanical seeders and threshing machines that caused agricultural productivity to soar. Products such as paper and glass became available to the average person, and the quality and accessibility of education and health care soared.
Gas lights allowed increased visibility in the dark, and towns and cities developed a nightlife. One of the results of increased wealth, productivity, and technology was the rise of urban centres. Serfs and peasants, expelled from their ancestral lands, flocked to the cities in search of factory jobs, and the populations of cities became increasingly diverse. The new generation became less preoccupied with maintaining family land and traditions, and more focused on survival.
Some were successful in acquiring wealth and achieving upward mobility for themselves and their family. Others lived in devastating poverty and squalor. Whereas the class system of feudalism had been rigid, and resources for all but the highest nobility and clergy scarce, under capitalism social mobility both upward and downward became possible. It was during the 18th and 19th centuries of the Industrial Revolution that sociology was born.
Life was changing quickly and the long-established traditions of the agricultural eras did not apply to life in the larger cities. Masses of people were moving to new environments and often found themselves faced with horrendous conditions of filth, overcrowding, and poverty. Social science emerged in response to the unprecedented scale of the social problems of modern society. A new cadre of financiers and industrialists like Donald Smith [1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal] and George Stephen [1st Baron Mount Stephen] in Canada became the new power players, using their influence in business to control aspects of government as well.
Eventually, concerns over the exploitation of workers led to the formation of labour unions and laws that set mandatory conditions for employees. Although the introduction of new technology at the end of the 20th century ended the industrial age, much of our social structure and social ideas—like the nuclear family, left-right political divisions, and time standardization—have a basis in industrial society.
Information societies , sometimes known as postindustrial or digital societies, are a recent development. Unlike industrial societies that are rooted in the production of material goods, information societies are based on the production of information and services.
Digital technology is the steam engine of information societies, and high tech companies such as Apple and Microsoft are its version of railroad and steel manufacturing corporations. Since the economy of information societies is driven by knowledge and not material goods, power lies with those in charge of creating, storing, and distributing information. Members of a postindustrial society are likely to be employed as sellers of services—software programmers or business consultants, for example—instead of producers of goods.
Social classes are divided by access to education, since without technical and communication skills, people in an information society lack the means for success. While many sociologists have contributed to research on society and social interaction, three thinkers form the base of modern-day perspectives. To Durkheim, society was greater than the sum of its parts. Society acted as an external restraint on individual behaviour. Durkheim called the communal beliefs, morals, and attitudes of a society the collective conscience.
Durkheim also believed that social integration , or the strength of ties that people have to their social groups, was a key factor in social life. Following the ideas of Comte and Spencer, Durkheim likened society to that of a living organism, in which each organ plays a necessary role in keeping the being alive. Even the socially deviant members of society are necessary, Durkheim argued, as punishments for deviance affirm established cultural values and norms.
That is, punishment of a crime reaffirms our moral consciousness. His primary concern was that the cultural glue that held society together was failing, and that people were becoming more divided. In his book The Division of Labour in Society , Durkheim argued that as society grew more populated, more complex, and more difficult to regulate, the underlying basis of solidarity or unity within the social order needed to evolve.
Preindustrial societies, Durkheim explained, were held together by mechanical solidarity , a type of social order maintained through a minimal division of labour and a common collective consciousness. Such societies permitted a low degree of individual autonomy. Essentially there was no distinction between the individual conscience and the collective conscience. Societies with mechanical solidarity act in a mechanical fashion; things are done mostly because they have always been done that way.
If anyone violated the collective conscience embodied in laws and taboos, punishment was swift and retributive. This type of thinking was common in preindustrial societies where strong bonds of kinship and a low division of labour created shared morals and values among people, such as hunter-gatherer groups. When people tend to do the same type of work, Durkheim argued, they tend to think and act alike.
In industrial societies, mechanical solidarity is replaced with organic solidarity , social order based around an acceptance of economic and social differences. In capitalist societies, Durkheim wrote, division of labour becomes so specialized that everyone is doing different things. Instead of punishing members of a society for failure to assimilate to common values, organic solidarity allows people with differing values to coexist. Laws exist as formalized morals and are based on restitution rather than retribution or revenge. There are no clear norms or values to guide and regulate behaviour.
Anomie was associated with the rise of industrial society, which removed traditional modes of moral regulation; the rise of individualism, which removed limits on what individuals could desire; and the rise of secularism, which removed ritual or symbolic foci. During times of war or rapid economic development, the normative basis of society was also challenged. People isolated in their specialized tasks tend to become alienated from one another and from a sense of collective conscience.
However, Durkheim felt that as societies reach an advanced stage of organic solidarity, they avoid anomie by redeveloping a set of shared norms. According to Durkheim, once a society achieves organic solidarity, it has finished its development. Karl Marx — offered one of the most comprehensive theories of the development of human societies from the earliest hunter-gatherers to the modern industrial age.
Each type of society—hunter-gatherer, pastoral, agrarian, feudal, capitalist—could be characterized as the total way of life that forms around different economic bases. Marx saw economic conflict in society as the primary means of change. The base of each type of society in history—its economic mode of production—had its own characteristic form of economic struggle. This was because a mode of production was essentially two things: the means of production of a society—anything that is used in production to satisfy needs and maintain existence e. Marx observed historically that in each epoch or type of society, only one class of persons has owned or monopolized the means of production.
As a result, the relations of production have been characterized by relations of domination since the emergence of private property. Throughout history, classes have had opposed or contradictory interests. The most recent revolutionary transformation resulted in the end of feudalism. A new revolutionary class emerged from among the freemen, small property owners, and middle-class burghers of the medieval period to challenge and overthrow the privilege and power of the feudal aristocracy. The members of the bourgeoisie or capitalist class were revolutionary in the sense that they represented a radical change and redistribution of power in European society.
Their power was based in the private ownership of industrial property, which they sought to protect through the struggle for property rights, notably in the English Civil War — and the French Revolution — The development of capitalism inaugurated a period of world transformation and incessant change through the destruction of the previous class structure, the ruthless competition for markets, the introduction of new technologies, and the globalization of economic activity. The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations.
It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation…. The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society…. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones.
All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind The proletariat were made up largely of guild workers and serfs who were freed or expelled from their indentured labour in feudal guild and agricultural production and migrated to the emerging cities where industrial production was centred.
The new labour relationship was based on a contract. However, as Marx pointed out, this meant in effect that workers could sell their labour as a commodity to whomever they wanted, but if they did not sell their labour they would starve. The capitalist had no obligations to provide them with security, livelihood, or a place to live as the feudal lords had done for their serfs. The source of a new class antagonism developed based on the contradiction of fundamental interests between the bourgeois owners and the wage labourers: where the owners sought to reduce the wages of labourers as far as possible to reduce the costs of production and remain competitive, the workers sought to retain a living wage that could provide for a family and secure living conditions.
In the midth century, as industrialization was booming, the conditions of labour became more and more exploitative. Such is the Old Town of Manchester, and on re-reading my description, I am forced to admit that instead of being exaggerated, it is far from black enough to convey a true impression of the filth, ruin, and uninhabitableness, the defiance of all considerations of cleanliness, ventilation, and health which characterise the construction of this single district, containing at least twenty to thirty thousand inhabitants.
And such a district exists in the heart of the second city of England, the first manufacturing city of the world For Marx, what we do defines who we are. In historical terms, in spite of the persistent nature of one class dominating another, the element of humanity as creator existed. There was at least some connection between the worker and the product, augmented by the natural conditions of seasons and the rising and setting of the sun, such as we see in an agricultural society.
But with the bourgeois revolution and the rise of industry and capitalism, workers now worked for wages alone. The essential elements of creativity and self-affirmation in the free disposition of their labour was replaced by compulsion. The relationship of workers to their efforts was no longer of a human nature, but based on purely animal needs. Marx described the economic conditions of production under capitalism in terms of alienation. Alienation refers to the condition in which the individual is isolated and divorced from his or her society, work, or the sense of self and common humanity.
Marx defined four specific types of alienation that arose with the development of wage labour under capitalism. An industrial worker does not have the opportunity to relate to the product he or she is labouring on. Workers do not care if they are making watches or cars; they care only that their jobs exist.
In the same way, workers may not even know or care what products they are contributing to. A worker on a Ford assembly line may spend all day installing windows on car doors without ever seeing the rest of the car. A cannery worker can spend a lifetime cleaning fish without ever knowing what product they are used for. Workers do not control the conditions of their jobs because they do not own the means of production. If someone is hired to work in a fast food restaurant, that person is expected to make the food the way as taught. All ingredients must be combined in a particular order and in a particular quantity; there is no room for creativity or change.
Everything is decided by the owners who then dictate orders to the workers. The workers relate to their own labour as an activity that does not belong to them. Alienation from others. Workers compete, rather than cooperate. Employees vie for time slots, bonuses, and job security. Different industries and different geographical regions compete for investment. Even when a worker clocks out at night and goes home, the competition does not end.
A final outcome of industrialization is a loss of connectivity between a worker and what makes him or her truly human. Taken as a whole, then, alienation in modern society means that individuals have no control over their lives. There is nothing that ties workers to their occupations.
Instead of being able to take pride in an identity such as being a watchmaker, automobile builder, or chef, a person is simply a cog in the machine. Even in feudal societies, people controlled the manner of their labour as to when and how it was carried out. But why, then, does the modern working class not rise up and rebel?
In response to this problem, Marx developed the concept of false consciousness. In fact, it is the ideology of the dominant class here, the bourgeoisie capitalists that is imposed upon the proletariat. Ideas such as the emphasis of competition over cooperation, of hard work being its own reward, of individuals as being the isolated masters of their own fortunes and ruins, etc.
Therefore, to the degree that workers live in a state of false consciousness, they are less likely to question their place in society and assume individual responsibility for existing conditions. The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself. But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons—the modern working class—the proletarians As capitalism developed the industrial means by which the problems of economic scarcity could be resolved, while at the same time intensifying the conditions of exploitation due to competition for markets and profits, the conditions for a successful working class revolution would emerge.
Instead of just being an inert strata of society, the class could become an advocate for social improvements. Only once society entered this state of political consciousness would it be ready for a social revolution. Indeed, Marx predicted that this would be the ultimate outcome and collapse of capitalism.
Introduction to Society and Social Interaction
Like the other social thinkers discussed here, Max Weber — was concerned with the important changes taking place in Western society with the advent of capitalism. Like Marx and Durkheim, he feared that capitalist industrialization would have negative effects on individuals. Why was the West the West? Key to his answer was that rationalization did not develop in the same way elsewhere as it did in Western society. Rationalization refers to the general tendency in modern society for all institutions and most areas of life to be transformed by the application of rationality. It overcomes forms of magical thinking and replaces them with calculation.
A rational society is one built around rational forms of organization, technology, and efficiency rather than religion, morality, or tradition. Older styles of social organization, whether political, economic, military, or what have you, based on other principles, could not compete with the efficiency of rational styles of organization and were gradually replaced.
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To Weber, capitalism became possible through the processes of rationalization. He defined capitalism as a type of continuous, calculated economic action in which every element was examined with respect to the logic of investment and return. Capitalism required the prior existence of rational procedures like double-entry bookkeeping, free market enterprise, free labour contracts, free market exchange, and calculable law so that it could operate as a form of rational enterprise.
Weber argued that although this leads to efficiency and rational, calculated decision making, it is in the end an irrational system. The emphasis on rationality and efficiency ultimately has negative effects when taken to the extreme. In modern societies, this is seen when rigid routines and strict adherence to performance-related goals lead to a mechanized work environment and a focus on efficiency for its own sake. To the degree that rational efficiency begins to undermine the substantial human values it was designed to serve i. When he has to stop to swat a fly on his nose all the tasks down the line from him are thrown into disarray.
He performs his routine task to the point where he cannot stop his jerking motions even after the whistle blows for lunch. For Weber, the culmination of industrialization and rationalization results in what he referred to as the iron cage , in which the individual is trapped by the systems of efficiency that were designed to enhance the well-being of humanity. It is a cage, or literally, from the original German, steel housing that we are encased in, because efficient rational forms of organization have become indispensable. Even if there was a social revolution of the type that Marx envisioned, the bureaucratic and rational organizational structures would remain.
There appears to be no alternative. Indeed a dark prediction, but one that has, at least to some degree, been borne out. In a rationalized, modern society, we have supermarkets instead of family-owned stores. We have chain restaurants instead of local eateries. Superstores that offer a multitude of merchandise have replaced independent businesses that focused on one product line, such as hardware, groceries, automotive repair, or clothing.
Shopping malls offer retail stores, restaurants, fitness centres, even condominiums. This change may be rational, but is it universally desirable? In a series of essays in , Weber presented the idea of the Protestant work ethic , a new attitude toward work based on the Calvinist principle of predestination. In the 16th century, Europe was shaken by the Protestant Revolution. John Calvin in particular popularized the Christian concept of predestination, the idea that all events—including salvation—have already been decided by God.
Because followers were never sure whether they had been chosen to enter Heaven or Hell, they looked for signs in their everyday lives. People lived on a kind of permanent ethical probation.
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If a person was hard-working and successful, he or she was likely to be one of the chosen. If a person was lazy or simply indifferent, he or she was likely to be one of the damned. It encouraged people to work hard in a disciplined, methodical way for personal gain. Missing in the classical theoretical accounts of modernity is an explanation of how the developments of modern society, industrialization, and capitalism have affected women differently from men.