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Different Views

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 08:05 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 44.7 
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Spencer’s major contribution to sociology was an evolutionary perspective on social order and social change. Spencer’s theory, “ The Theory of General Evolution” basically stated that society like a biological organism has various interdependent parts that work together to ensure the stability and survival of the entire society. He like Charles Darwin believed in survival of the fittest, so much so that his view was often called Social Darwinism. He believed that the most fit, would survive whereas the unfit would eventually die out and be filtered out of the society. There were several flaws with this idea though, people are not like animals, they can work to change their situations. In his opinion all the working class people would die out and only the rich people would survive. However, without the laborers to do work now the “not as rich” people would be the lower class and eventually die out as well. So then the rich people would have to do the work. With his idea, the society would die out because eventually there wouldn’t be a division of labor anymore. His ideas also led to social racism against Africans and Indians, it served as the rationalization for the white race, it justified the “superiority” they believed they had. So of course his ideas were more popular with the upper class people than the lower class. Even today Spencer’s ideas and concepts are prevalent with people still thinking that they are better than others because of their race. His thoughts have become embedded in social thinking for over a century.

In contrast to Spencer’s views Durkheim stressed that people are the product of their social environment and that their behavior can’t be fully understood in terms of individual and psychological traits. He believed that the limits of human potential are socially based not biologically based. His idea that societies are built on social facts was expressed in his work, “The Rules of Sociological Method” which was his most important...


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