Modernity & Social Changes in Europe & Emergence of Sociology | Sociology UPSC Note

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Modernity and Social Changes in Europe and Emergence of Sociology

The Difference Between Modernity And Modernization

Modernity is linked to the big changes that happened in society, especially in the areas of social, economic, and cultural change.

Modernity is based on morals and rules that apply to everyone. This is what the Process of Modernization has led to. It’s a big break with the way society has always been.

Prior to being a process, modernization is an idea. Since it’s a thought, social scientists can’t agree on what it means or how to understand it. The idea of modernization came about as a way to explain how enlightenment, industrialization, and capitalism helped Western countries and cultures grow and change.

This way of thinking says that progress is mostly about bringing in new technology and teaching people how to use it. Also, there are a number of social and political conditions that must be met before change can happen. Some of these requirements include:

1. New ideas, inventions, and discoveries.

2. The rise of industry and cities.

3. Capitalism

4. Free Market

5. Optimism

6. In science, technology, society, and politics, the search for absolute information.

7. The idea that the only way to learn anything else was to learn about one’s true self.

8. Rationality.

9. More people are getting educated.

10. The growth of the media.

11. Transportation and contact that are easy to use.

12. Political organisations that are democratic.

13. More urban and mobile people.

14. A nuclear family instead of a large one.

15. Work is divided in a complicated way.

16. A drop in the public’s interest in religion, and; 17. The creation of markets for buying and selling things and services instead of using traditional methods to meet these needs.

Therefore, the existence of these conditions in the social order is thought to be the cause of modernization.

Thinkers on Modernity

1. Karl Marx thought about modernity in terms of how things were made. The main goal of the business class was to make more things. When you make more, you make more money. For him, capitalism was all about making money. So, Marx said that everything is a commodity under capitalism. Everything in society is a good or service, including dance, theatre, literature, and faith. It is made, and people buy and sell it on the market.

2. Max Weber reads a lot of books and articles about power, religion, and other parts of life, and he comes to the conclusion that reason is the main theme that explains how people act. So, he has said that logic is what makes something modern. For him, the word “modern” is the same as the word “rational.”

Emile Durkheim knew a lot about industry and urbanisation because he lived through them. He was afraid of how modernity would change things. The things he found out about modern society from his studies were very interesting and exciting. He believed in how things work. He had a strong belief in how society should work as a whole. Society comes first for him. It is the best of the best. God did it. Even so, society never stays the same.

4. Ferdinand Tonnies used the German words Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft to describe important parts of both simple and advanced societies. Gemeinschaft means “human community.” Tonnies said that simple societies, where family, kin, and community ties are strong, have a strong sense of community. Tonnies said that as societies grew and became more industrialised and as people went to cities, social ties became weaker and less personal. Tonnies called this a Gesellschaft, and she was sad about it.

5. People think that George Simmel mostly looked at modernity in two big, interconnected places: the city and the money economy. The city is where modernity is focused or pushed to its limits, while the money economy is where modernity spreads or grows. So, city life and the spread of money are what make up modernism for Simmel.

Europe’s Modernity and Social Changes

Sociology as a science field can be traced back to a time in European history when there were a lot of big changes in social, political, economic, and cultural life. These changes came about because of Modernity, which was shaped by the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the Scientific and Commercial Revolutions. From these revolutions, modernity gained ideological meaning. The ideas behind these revolutions were based on making money, mass production (which created new markets), the desire to build capital empires in other countries, and industrialism (which led to the growth of technology, rationality, capitalism, and progress). The Modernity and changes in European society during this time are called the Enlightenment age. It shows how French thinkers of the 18th century felt like they were waking up to something new.

The Age of Enlightenment

1. The early sociologists got their ideas from the way people lived in Europe. Sociology as a science field can be traced back to the time in European history when the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution brought about huge changes in society, politics, and the economy.

2. The traditional way of thought in feudal Europe changed a lot during the Enlightenment. It gave people a new way to think and see the world. People started to question everything, from the church to the government to the monarch’s power, and nothing was taken for granted anymore.

3. The ideas, like the belief that both nature and society can be studied scientifically, that people are basically rational, and that a society built on rational principles will help people reach their full potential, can be traced back to how science and business developed in Europe. Sociology began as a field of study because of the new ideas that came out of the economic revolution, the scientific revolution, and the French and industrial revolutions.

4. Old Europe had its own ways. Land was the most important part of their economy. There were people who owned land, called feudal lords, and people who worked on the land, called peasants. There were clear differences between the classes. Religion was one of the most important parts of society. The leaders of religion chose what was right and wrong. Family and ties to other people were very important to the people. The monarchy was a strong part of society. People thought that God had chosen the king to rule over them.

5. The French and Industrial Revolutions brought about a new Europe that was different from the old Europe in every important way.

Europe’s Commercial Revolution, Modernity, and Social Changes

1. The “Commercial Revolution” is a group of things that happened from about 1450 to about 1800. The economy of mediaeval Europe, which was mostly based on subsistence and didn’t change much, changed because of these events. It became a more active, global system.

2. In this way, the “Commercial Revolution” refers to the growth of trade and business that happened after the 15th century. We call it a Revolution because it happened on such a big scale and was so well planned. Some European countries took the initiative to grow and strengthen their economic and political power, which led to this growth. Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, and England were these places.

3.Trade between Europe and countries in the East, like India and China, was done by land paths. The most important places for trade were the towns of Venice and Genoa in northern Italy. Because Italy had a stranglehold, goods from the East, like spices and silks, cost a lot more than they should have. Because of this, Portugal and Spain wanted to find a way to the East that wasn’t controlled by Italy.

4. This started a change from travelling by land to travelling by sea. The Portuguese were the first people to sail and explore in dangerous ways. You’ve probably heard of Vasco da Gama, who in 1498 sailed around the southern tip of Africa and arrived on the coast of India. Christopher Columbus set sail for India. He was an Italian who had the support of the King and Queen of Spain. But he ended up on North American shores. The fact that Spain found America by accident turned out to be very helpful. It was the start of a Spanish empire in North and South America. Spain and Portugal were soon joined by Britain, France, and Holland. Spain, Portugal, England, France, and Holland were in charge of the economies of parts of India, Africa, Malacca, the Spice Islands, the West Indies, and South America. Commerce grew into a global business. The Italian towns no longer had a monopoly on trade.

5. Spices and linens from the east, tobacco from north America, cocoa, chocolate, and quinine from south America, ivory from Africa, and, most importantly, slaves from Africa flooded European markets. When the Americas were found, there were more places to trade with. Gold and silver were added to the list of things that were sought after after medicines and cloth. As the Commercial Revolution went on, Portugal and Spain became less important. England, the Netherlands, and France came to rule Europe and the rest of the world.

6. Banks grew: The growth of banks was one of the most important parts of the Commercial Revolution. There were more ways to get credit, which made it easier for businesses all over Europe to do business. The “cheque” was made in the 1800s. Gold and silver coins gave way to paper money.

7. Companies’ growth: As business and trade grew, new types of business organisations had to be made to keep up. In the 1600s, “regulated companies” came into being. These were groups of merchants who agreed to work together on a shared project. In the 17th century, companies with “joint-stock” began to form. Shares of cash were given to a large number of investors in this way. Some of these were “chartered companies,” which meant that their governments gave them a charter or a deal that gave them a monopoly on trade in a certain area. The British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company are both examples of these kinds of companies.

8. The rise of a new class: This part has already hinted that the rise of the middle class to economic power was one of the most important things about this time. By the end of the 17th century, the middle class had grown to be an important part of almost every country in western Europe. It was made up of traders, bankers, investors, and ship owners. At this point, their power was mostly based on money. But later in the unit, we’ll look at how they became politically powerful in the 19th century.

Getting the monarchy stronger: During this time, royalty got stronger, The church’s fall and the growth of the middle class. It started a process called “Europeanization,” which reached its peak with colonialism.

Europe’s Scientific Revolution, Modernity, and Social Changes

During the Renaissance, from 1400 to 1600 A.D., there was a “scientific revolution” in Europe. The scientific movement had a huge effect not only on how people lived, but also on how they thought about Nature and Society.

2. Science doesn’t grow in a way that’s separate from society; it grows in reaction to what people need. For example, different vaccines weren’t made out of the blue; they were made because people needed to cure diseases.

3.Science doesn’t just affect the real or material life of society; it also has a lot to do with ideas. The general intellectual climate in society has an effect on the progress of science. In the same way, new discoveries in science can change how people think and feel about other things. This is an important fact to keep in mind.

4. Sociology grew up in Europe in large part due to the ideas and findings made in science.

Science during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance:

1. The feudal structure was what made up mediaeval society. The Church was where power, authority, and study came together. Most of what they learned was about religion. The Church’s “dogmas,” or strict views, could not be changed by anything. In such a place, new, risky ideas could not grow. So, the progress of science was mostly limited to changes in how things were made.

2. During the “Renaissance” time period, the “Scientific Revolution” began. It opened up a new area of science for describing and criticising. It was a clear break with the past and a challenge to the old way of doing things.

3. Art, writing, and science all did well. People started to look at Nature and the human body from a science point of view. This is clear from the works of the time, which looked at even the smallest parts of nature and the human body. In the area of medicine, it became okay to cut up a person’s body. Doctors and physiologists saw with their own eyes how the body was put together. So, anatomy, physiology, and disease all got a lot out of it. A broad theory of chemistry was made in the field of chemistry. Some of the chemical processes that were looked at were oxidation, reduction, distillation, fusion, etc. In the fields of navigation and science, Vasco da Gama reached the shores of India in 1498, and in 1492, Columbus found America. Remember that this was the time when trade grew and colonisation began. A strong interest in astronomy grew as well, which was important for good guidance.

4. Nicholas Copernicus, a Dutchman, was the first person to make a big change to the way people thought in the past. Most people thought that the earth was still and that the sun and other celestial things moved around it. This is called a “geocentric” idea, but Copernicus didn’t agree. He showed that the earth moved around a fixed sun by giving very clear answers. (This is called a “heliocentric theory.”) Copernicus’ work is considered revolutionary because it changed the way people thought about the world in a big way. Humans were not the centre of the world. Instead, they were just a small part of a very big system.

5. In a word, the Renaissance was a time when scientists changed the way they thought about people and the natural world. Scientists started to study and test things that were found in nature. The Copernican revolution shook the old world to its very roots.

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6. Other Post-Renaissance Changes: The work of scientists and mathematicians like Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), and later Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), changed the way science was done. It put THE EXPERIMENTAL METHOD in the spotlight and caused people to question old ideas and come up with new ones. If these other ideas could be shown to be true and checked over and over again, they were accepted. If not, new ideas were looked for. Over time, scientific methods came to be seen as the most accurate and objective. (The “scientific method” was suggested by the first sociologists as a way to study society.

7. People were able to learn more about how the body works by taking it apart. William Harvey (1578-1657) found out how blood moves through the body. This made us change our minds a lot. People began to see the human body as a collection of parts and processes that work together. This affected the ideas of Comte, Spencer, and Durkheim, just to name a few.

8. The Origin of Species was written by the British scientist Charles Darwin (1809-1882). It came out in 1859. It was based on what the author saw while travelling around the world for five years. Darwin came up with the idea that different living things fight for the limited resources on Earth. So, “survival of the fittest” is the natural rule. Some species change or acquire traits that help them stay alive, while other species go extinct. Darwin looked into “human evolution” and wrote about it in his 1863 book, Descent of Man. He found that our ancestors were similar to apes and that, over time, they changed into the people we are today.

9. This book made a lot of noise. People used to think that “God” made them “in his own image,” and conservatives didn’t want to believe that they came from monkeys. Darwin’s idea of evolution, on the other hand, was accepted by most people. Evolutionary thinkers, like Herbert Spencer, used it to explain the social world. People thought that both organisms and cultures were always “evolving,” or moving from one stage to the next.

Modernity, social changes, and the French Revolution in Europe

When it started in 1789, the French Revolution was a turning point in the history of people fighting for freedom and equality. It ended the time of feudalism and made way for a new way of life. This revolution caused a lot of big changes not only in France but also in the rest of Europe. India and other places on other continents were affected by the ideas that came out of this change. The French Revolution gave birth to ideas like liberty, brotherhood, and equality, which are now part of the preamble to the Constitution of India.

The French society was split into feudal “estates.” The ‘Three Estates’ made up the framework of feudal France. Estates are a type of social stratification that was common in feudal European societies. Each section, or estate, was different from the others in terms of its position, rights, and rules.

• The clergy made up the First Estate. There were different levels of clergy, like the cardinal, the archbishops, the bishops, and the abbots. They lived in great comfort and didn’t care much about religion. In fact, some of them liked being in politics better than being religious. They spent a lot of time drinking, gaming, etc., which was a waste of time. Compared to the top clergy, the parish priests had too much work and not enough money.

• The nobles were part of the Second Estate. There were two types of nobles: those who were good with the sword and those who were good with clothes. Nobles of the sword owned a lot of land. In theory, they were there to guard the people, but in practise, they were parasites who lived off the hard work of the peasants. They lived a life of pomp and show and were called “high-born wastrels,” which means they spent a lot of money and didn’t work. They are like the zamindars who used to rule India. The nobles of the robe were not nobles by birth, but by rank. They were the judges and officials. Some of these lords were very progressive and liberal because they had come from the third estate, which was made up of ordinary people.

• The rest of society, like the peasants, traders, craftspeople, and others, were part of the Third Estate. The situation of the peasants was very different from that of the clergy and the nobles. The people worked hard all day and night, but they had to pay so many taxes that they barely had enough to eat. They made the food that everyone in the society ate. But they could barely stay alive because the government didn’t protect them in any way. So that he could keep the good will of the church and the nobility, the King kept taking advantage of the poor. The poor people couldn’t do anything to stop him. While the church and nobles kept treating the King well and making him feel good.

Compared to the peasants, the traders, bankers, lawyers, manufacturers, etc. who were part of the middle class, or “bourgeoisie,” had it much better. These groups were also part of the third estate. But the state’s poverty, which caused prices to go up from 1720 to 1789, didn’t hurt them. Instead, it helped them. They made money from this rise, and the fact that French trade had gotten much better was also a big help to the business classes. So, this group was wealthy and safe. But it didn’t have any social standing compared to the members of the first and second houses. Even though the bourgeoisie ran trade, industries, banking, etc., they had no power over the law or government. They were looked down upon by the other two houses, and the King didn’t pay much attention to them. So, they had no choice but to try to get political power.

Even though they only made up 2% of the people each, the clergy and the nobility owned about 35% of the land. Even though peasants made up 80% of the people, they only owned 30% of the land. The government almost didn’t get any money from the first two farms. On the other hand, different kinds of taxes were put on the peasants. It paid taxes to the Church, which was the feudal master, in the form of income tax, poll tax, and land tax to the state. So, at this time, the people were very poor and had a lot of work to do. They were almost taking care of the first two farms by themselves. On top of that, prices had gone up by about 65% during this time, from 1720 to 1789.

In France, as in all absolute monarchies, the idea of the Divine Right of the King was used to explain how the government worked. The Kings of the Bourbon family ruled France for about 200 years. Normal people didn’t have any rights when the King was in charge. They did nothing but work for the King and his lords. The King’s word was law, and if he wanted to arrest someone, they didn’t have to go through a hearing first. Laws were also different in different parts of the country, which led to misunderstanding and randomness. There was no difference between the state’s income and the King’s income.

The kings of France, starting with Louis XIV, fought expensive wars that broke the country’s economy. By the time Louis XIV died in 1715, France was bankrupt. Instead of getting better after this, Louis XV kept borrowing money from bankers. His famous phrase “After me, the deluge” describes the financial crisis that France was going through at the time. Louis XVI was a weak and useless king who took over a government that was in ruins. His wife, Queen Marie Antoinette, was known for spending a lot of money. She also gave a famous answer when poor, hungry French people asked her for food. “If you don’t have bread, eat cake,” she told the people.

Intellectual developments in France:

During the 18th century, France and other parts of Europe had moved into the age of reason and logic. Some of the most influential thinkers in France were rationalists who thought that all true things could be shown through reason. Montesquieu (1689–1755), Locke (1632–1704), Voltaire (1694–1778), and Rousseau (1712–1778) were some of these writers.

In his book The Spirit of the Law, Montesquieu said that all three types of power—executive, parliamentary, and judicial—should not be in one place. He believed in the idea that there should be a split of powers and that each person should be free. Locke, who was English, said that everyone has certain rights that can’t be taken away by anyone in power. These were rights.

1. The right to live,

2. The right to own property,

3. The right to freedom of choice.

He also thought that any leader who took away these rights from his people should be taken from power and replaced by a leader who could protect these rights.

Voltaire was a French philosopher who pushed for freedom of speech and religion tolerance. He also fought for the rights of people and for the freedom to speak and write. In his book The Social Contract, Rousseau said that the people of a country have the right to choose their ruler. He thought that the best way for people to grow as people is for them to choose their own government.

The French people were interested in the big ideas of these and many other smart people. Some of them had also fought in the French army, which was sent to help the Americans fight against British imperialism in the War of Independence. When they came back, they believed that everyone was equal and had the right to choose their own government. These ideas of freedom and equality had a big effect on the French middle class.

After the French Revolution, there were a lot of big changes. The French Revolution changed the way politics worked in Europe, and it marked the end of aristocracy and the beginning of democracy. Early sociologists were interested in a number of important themes that came up because of the effects of the American Revolution. Some of these important themes were how property changed, how the change in the government structure caused social disorder, and how that changed the economic structure. The bourgeoisie was a new group of people who had power. We need to know more about the Industrial Revolution if we want to understand these ideas better.

Europe’s Industrial Revolution, Modernization, and Social Change

1. Around 1760, the Industrial Revolution started. in Britain. People’s social and economic lives changed a lot because of it, first in England, then in other European countries, and then on other continents. In Europe, especially England, explorations, the discovery of new lands, the growth of trade and commerce, and the growth of towns all led to a rise in the desire for goods. In the past, goods like cloth and other market goods were made at the local level. This means that there was a method of making things at home. Since there was more desire, a lot of goods were to be made.

2. During the Industrial Revolution, new tools and methods were made that made it possible to make a lot of things at once. From 1760 to 1830, a number of new tools, methods, and ways to organise production were made. This led to the factory system of production. So, the economy went from being based on feudalism to being based on capitalism. The new system of production was then run by a group of people called “capitalists.” Because of this revolution, people went from making things by hand to making things with machines. This change was a sign that the Industrial Revolution was about to start.

3. The Spinning Jenny, made by an English weaver named James Hargreaves in 1767, was one of the most important mechanical inventions. It made production faster and better in many businesses. It was a simple, square-shaped machine. It had a number of wheels that could be moved by turning a single wheel. In 1769, Arkwright, an English barber, made another tool. It was called Arkwright’s Water Fame, after the man who made it. This Water Frame was so big that it couldn’t be kept in a home. Instead, it had to be set up in a special building. Because of this, people say that he was the one who came up with the factory method. Samuel Crompton made “the Mule” in 1779 in England, which was another invention. There were also a number of other inventions that all helped the industrialization of Europe.

4. When the economy changed, many other things in society also changed. As capitalism got more complicated, banks, insurance companies, and finance companies came into existence. A new group of industrial workers, managers, and business owners came into being. In the new industrial society, the peasants wound cotton in a textile mill with tens of thousands of other people just like them. Instead of the beautiful scenery, they ended up living in a dirty place.

5. As output went up, the population started to grow. The rise in population caused the rate of growth to speed up. The towns that made things grew quickly. In the industrial towns, there were big differences between the rich and the poor. The people who worked in the plant had to do boring, repetitive work that they couldn’t enjoy. In Marxist words, the worker became disconnected from what he or she worked for. In an industrial society, living in the city became a whole new way of life.

6. Both conservatives and radicals were affected by these changes. The conservatives were afraid that chaos and disorder would happen if things went on like this. Radicals like Engels thought that factory workers would be the ones to change society. Even though people had different ideas about what was important, they all agreed that the Industrial Revolution changed everything. They also agreed that the new middle class was important. History from the years 1811 to 1850 shows that this group of people fought for their rights more and more.

Here are some of the most important things that early sociologists thought about during the Industrial Revolution.

1. The way people work: A new group of people got jobs in the workshops and made a living that way. In the beginning, this working class was poor and dirty. They had no friends or family. At the same time, they were needed for the new industry system to work. This made them a strong force in society. Sociologists knew that this group of workers was poor not because they were poor by nature, but because of how they were treated by society. So, the working class became a moral and an intellectual issue in the nineteenth century.

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2. The change in property: Before the Industrial Revolution, people put a lot of value on land, but after it, money or capital became more important. It became clear that the investment in the new industry system had paid off. The power of the feudal owners went down as the new capitalists rose to the top. Many of these new capitalists had been owners in the past. During the French Revolution, property was also one of the most important things that people talked about. It has a big effect on the way society works. Property is linked to economic privileges, social standing, and political power. Changing the way property is owned changes the way society works at its core. Since the time of Marx, Tocqueville, Taine, and Weber, sociologists have tried to figure out how property affects how people are ranked in society.

3. The industrial city, or urbanism: The Industrial Revolution had to lead to more people living in cities. As industries grew, so did large groups of people, which led to the towns and cities of today. Cities like Rome, Athens, etc. existed in the past, but the new cities, like Manchester, England, which is known for its textiles, were different. People used to say that the old cities were full of civilised graces and virtues, while the new cities were full of sorrow and inhumanity. The first sociologists were interested in these things about the new places.

Technology and the factory system: In the 1800s, many books and articles were written about technology and the factory system. Both conservatives and radicals knew that their ideas would change the way people live for the rest of time.

5. Migration from the country to the city: The effects of technology and the factory system caused a lot of people to move to the city.

6.Relationships with family: Women and children worked in companies. Family structure and the way people connect with each other changed.

7. Work-related: The factory’s noise seemed to control people’s lives. The machine, not the person, seemed to be in charge at work. As was already said, the relationship between the workers and the things they made changed. They earned their money by working. The result was everyone’s child, but especially the machine’s. The plant was owned by its owner. Life and work stopped being about people. Marx saw the machine as a way of enslaving people and as a sign of how work was being taken away from people. Due to the industrial system of production, social scientists thought that both men and women had become more automatic in their hearts and hands.

Change in the way people think (Intelectual Orientation) In Europe

Sociology grew out of the causes of change that were happening in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. So, the ideas, which are talked about over and over in early sociological works, are mostly ideas from that time.

A lot of early sociology was shaped by the ideas of the Enlightenment, which happened in the 18th century. The Enlightenment seems to be the best place to start when looking at where social theory came from, for many reasons, some of which are listed below.

1. A scientific way of looking at society can be traced back to the Enlightenment. Thinkers in the 18th century started to study human situations in a more scientific way than any other time before. They did this by using methods from the natural sciences. They consciously used scientific methods of research to study people and how they live and work together.

2. The thinkers of the 18th century believed that reason was the best way to judge how well social systems fit human nature. They say that people are basically smart, and that this smartness can lead to freedom of thought and action.

3. People who thought in the 18th century thought that people could reach perfection. By criticising and changing society institutions, they can give themselves even more freedom, which would give them more opportunities to use their creative potential.

4. At the beginning of the 19th century, the theory of history started to have a big impact on the way people thought. This philosophy was based on the idea that society must have gone through a number of steps from a simple to a more complicated stage. On the philosophical side, the main things that the philosophy of history has brought to sociology are the ideas of growth and progress. On the science side, it has given us ideas about different times in history and different kinds of people. Social thinkers like Abbe Saint Pierre and Giambattista, who came up with the philosophy of history, were interested in the whole of society, not just the political, economic, or artistic parts. Later, Comte, Spencer, Marx, and a number of other sociologists wrote about how the loss of this intellectual trend affected society.

5. The biological idea of evolution made the philosophy of history even more important. Sociology started to take an evolutionary view and try to figure out and explain the main stages of social change. It tended to be based on biology, as shown by the widespread idea that society is an organism and by attempts to describe social development in general terms. This kind of writing is shown well by the works of Herbert Spencer and Durkheim.

6. A key part of modern sociology is the social poll. It started because of two things. First, there was a growing belief that the methods of the natural sciences should and could be used to study human matters and that human events could be categorised and measured. The other was worry about poverty (called “the social problem”), which came about after people realised that poverty wasn’t natural but social. The social poll is one of the main ways sociologists look into things. The basic idea behind this method is that if you know about the social situations, you can find ways to solve the social problems that are happening in society.

These big changes, which were caused by the things listed above, also involved a big paradox.

• These changes led to a new society with a lot of productive potential and more complex ways of living.

• At the same time, they caused a lot of changes in traditional ways of life and relationships, as well as new problems like overcrowding, poverty, and unemployment. In the second half of the 1800s, these intellectual and physical changes led to the rise of sociology as a separate field of study. In other words, early sociologists emphasised using a scientific method to study society in order to understand the complexity that modernity brought and to make rules for a better society.

Auguste Comte, an early European sociologist who lived from 1798 to 1857,

1. The French philosopher Auguste Comte is usually called the “Father of Sociology.” Comte was the first person to say that sociology was different from all the other fields. He did this by coming up with the word “sociology.” In a set of books, he laid out a general way to study society. People call Comte the “Father of Sociology” not because he made important contributions to the field, but because he had a big impact on it.

2. Comte used the word “sociology” for the first time in his popular book “Positive Philosophy” in 1839. The word “sociology” comes from two words: the Latin word “socius,” which means “friend,” and the Greek word “logos,” which means “study” or “science.” So, the origin of the word sociology is the study of society. He said that sociology is the study of “natural and unchanging laws that govern social phenomena and whose discovery is the goal of investigation.”

3. Comte spent most of his time trying to figure out what knowledge is and how it is gained. He tried to put all knowledge into categories and look at how it is gained. He spent most of his time trying to figure out what human society is and what rules and laws make it grow and change. He also worked hard to figure out the best ways to study social events.

4. Comte thought that the sciences follow a clear and rational order and that all inquiries go through three stages: the theological, the metaphysical, and the “positive” or “scientific” or “empirical.” Finally, they get to the last stage, which he called the scientific step. In the positive stage, theory is replaced by careful observation. He said that the positive method can be used to study social phenomena as accurately as it can be used to study physical phenomena. He thought it was time for the last step of research into social problems and social events. So, he suggested that the science of society be used to describe the study of society. i.e. ‘sociology ‘.

5.Comte suggested that sociology be broken up into two main parts: the study of social stability and the study of social change. Sociology is divided into two main parts, and these two ideas show that. “Social statistics” looks at the most important parts of society, like the family, the business, and the government. Sociology is thought of as the study of how these organisations work together. Comte said that the statistical study of sociology is “the investigation of the laws of action and reaction of different parts of the social system.” He said that you can’t study different parts of a society independently, “as if they had their own lives.”

6. “Social dynamics” looks at societies as a whole and shows how they have grown and changed over time. He said, “We must remember that the laws of social dynamics are easiest to see in the largest societies.” Comte was sure that all societies went through a set number of stages of growth that led to more and more perfect societies. He thought that comparing societies as “wholes” was one of the most important things to study in sociology.

Comte’s contributions to the growth of sociology as a science:

1. Comte gave sociology its name and laid the groundwork for it to grow into a separate study in its own right.

2. Comte’s insistence on a “positive approach, objectivity, and a scientific attitude” helped the social sciences as a whole move forward.

3. Comte’s “Law of Three Stages” made it clear that “intellectual evolution and social progress” go together very well.

4. Comte’s “classification of sciences” shows that sociology relies a lot on what other sciences have learned. The modern “interdisciplinary approach” is similar to the Cometian view.

5. Comte gave the scientific method the most importance. He criticised the way armchair social thinkers thought and stressed the need to follow the scientific method.

6.Comte split sociology into two main areas: “social statics” and “social dynamics.” Sociologists still use them today, but they are now called “social structure and function” and “social change and progress.”

7. Comte had said that sociology was not just a “pure” science, but also a “applied” science. He thought that sociology should be used to help solve society’s issues. Because of this focus on the practical side of sociology, many applied areas of sociology like “social work,” “social welfare,” etc., have grown up.

8. Comte also helped to make theoretical sociology what it is today.

9. Comte worked to keep the “moral order” of society. Later writers, like Arnold Toynbee and Pitrim A. Sorokin, were very impressed by how important he thought morals was.

10. The famous books “Positive Philosophy” and “Positive Polity” by Comte are important parts of the history of social writing.

Harriet Martineau (1802–1876):

Harriet Martineau was born and raised in England. In 1853, she translated and simplified Comte’s six-volume Positive Philosophy into English. This brought sociology to England. Martineau made her own addition to sociology with her book Society in America. Society in America was one of the first and most in-depth sociological studies of American social life. It was also one of the first books to compare the way people are ranked in Europe and America. How to Observe Manners and Morals, which came out in 1838 and was one of the first books to talk about social research methods, brought sociology out of the realm of ideas and into the real world.

Martineau brought sociology to England, but it was Herbert Spencer’s controversial use of sociology that caught the attention of wealthy industrialists and government leaders in England and all over Europe, who backed him and his ideas.

Herbert Spencer [1820 – 1903]

1. When Herbert Spencer saw the bad things about the Industrial Revolution in England, like the fight, competition, and violence, he came up with a theory for understanding society based on the idea of evolution.

2. To explain both social structure and social change, he used an organic analogy that compared society to a living organism with parts that rely on each other. These ideas eventually led to the structural-functionalist point of view in sociology. Spencer’s social Darwinism, which used the phrase “survival of the fittest” before Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking On the Origin of Species (1859) was published in 1964, said that the evolution of society and the survival of its members were directly linked to their ability to adapt to changing conditions.

3. Spencer said that a free and competitive market where the government didn’t get in the way was necessary so that the best and brightest could achieve and help build a stronger economy and society.

4. Spencer was against welfare or any other way to help the weak or poor. He thought that helping the “unfit” to live would hurt society in the long run. Rich industrialists and government officials liked these ideas, and they used Spencer’s theory to back up policies and practises that helped them keep their wealth, power, and status at the cost of those with less.

5. His three-volume book “Principles of Sociology,” which came out in 1877, was the first organised look at sociology. He was much clearer than Comte about what sociology is about and what its special areas are.

Spencer says that the areas of sociology are the family, politics, religion, social control, and the workplace or business. He also talked about the sociological study of groups, communities, the division of work, social differentiation, and social stratification, as well as the study of arts and aesthetics.

Spencer said that sociology has to study how different parts of society affect and are affected by the whole. He believed that sociology should study the whole society as a unit. He said that the parts of society were not put together in a random way. The parts always fit together in some way, which made society as a whole a useful “entity” that could be studied by scientists.

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KARL MARX (1818 – 1883)

Marx studied history, economics, and philosophy in school, but his ideas are more like those of sociologists. Even though he saw the same kinds of people as Spencer, he came to very different conclusions about where they came from. Marx said that the unequal distribution of wealth, power, and other limited resources in society wasn’t due to “natural laws,” but rather to social forces, like when one social class takes advantage of another. He argued that the social structure and the political and economic institutions that people took for granted were not the result of natural evolution or social consensus, but were instead the result of the different interests of different social Classes.

Marx thought that there were two main social groups in society: the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Marx thought that the strong ruling class, the bourgeoisie (the “haves”), came to power not because they were the “fittest,” but because they owned and controlled the means of production. He thought that the bourgeoisie stole the work of the proletariat (the “have-nots”) or working class by lying, cheating, and using violence. The working class made most of society’s goods and earnings through their work.

Marx was not just a detached watcher of society; he was also a strong critic of society. He came to the conclusion that society changes would not happen through a slow, natural process of evolution. Instead, his analysis called for a big social revolution in which the proletariat would rise up, overthrow the capitalists by force, and start a new society without classes.

Marx wrote that in this kind of society, everyone would give what they could and get what they needed from society. Marx’s emphasis on social strife upset a lot of people, especially those he called “bourgeoisie.” They were relieved when Émile Durkheim’s more palatable social analysis came out and shifted the focus of sociology back to a more conservative method called functionalism.

Emile Durkheim(1858-1917)

1. Unlike Marx, who was mostly interested in social strife, Émile Durkheim was mostly interested in social order. He thought that social order was made by people’s social ties to their society, which he called “social solidarity.” Durkheim thought that there were two types of social solidarity: mechanical solidarity, which is found in simple rural societies and is based on tradition and unity, and organic solidarity, which is more common in urban societies and is based on a complex division of labour and formal organisations.

2. Durkheim’s study of suicide, which came out in 1897 and was published in 1951, was one of his most important additions to sociology. It showed how abstract sociological theories can be used to solve a very real social problem. More importantly, it showed that suicide, which was thought to be a private, unique, and personal act, is best understood from a social point of view.

3.Durkheim linked suicide to social integration by looking at suicide rates instead of individual suicides. Social integration is how much people feel like they are an important part of society. People who are less deeply integrated and have weaker social ties are more likely to kill themselves than those who have strong social ties. His figures showed, for example, that people who were married had lower suicide rates than those who were single or divorced, that people who worked had lower rates than those who didn’t, and that church members had lower rates than people who didn’t go to church. Also, those faiths (like Catholicism and Judaism) with the strongest social bonds among their members had much lower suicide rates than those with less structure (like Protestantism). Today, more than a century after Durkheim’s study, these and other trends he found in suicide are still true.

Max Weber (1864-1920)

1. Max Weber, who lived at the same time as Durkheim, was worried that many sociologists, especially Karl Marx, let their personal beliefs affect their theories and study. Weber said that sociologists shouldn’t have any opinions about how society should be. Instead, they should study how society is, not how they think it should be.Weber did not support a cold, impersonal approach to sociology, though. Instead, he argued that understanding the meaning of social interaction requires Verstehen, which is an empathetic and introspective study of the interaction. In other words, Weber thought that researchers should avoid their own biases and try to understand how the people they study see the world and how society affects them by putting themselves in their shoes.

2. Weber’s idea of the “ideal type” is one of the most important things he gave to sociology. The “ideal type” is a mental model or typology built from direct observation of a number of specific cases and representing the most important qualities found in those cases. Weber meant a generalisation based on many specific examples when he said “ideal type.” He did not mean that something was necessarily good. For example, Weber used bureaucracy as an ideal type to study and explain how formal organisations are becoming more and more logical and less and less about people.Weber said that formal organisations like companies, schools, and government agencies had become and would continue to become more bureaucratic in order to be as efficient as possible. Weber said that bureaucracy was the most rational and effective way to run an organisation as a whole, but he also worried about how it could make people feel less important and less human.

What these four sociology pioneers all brought to the field

It seems that these “four founding fathers” of Sociology—Comte, Spencer, Durkheim, and Weber—all agreed on what Sociology should be about.

1. They all told the sociologists that they should study many different groups, from the family to the government.

2. They all agreed that the relationships between different organisations are a unique topic for sociology.

3. They all agreed that society as a whole can be looked at as a separate unit for sociological study. They asked sociology to explain how and why societies are the same or different and in what ways they are the same.

4. They argued that sociology should be about “social acts” or “social relationships,” no matter where they happened. Weber said this most clearly.

Story of Spread and Popularity of Sociology (In the U.S. and Other Places)

Sociology started in the second half of the 1800s in Western Europe, but it wasn’t always accepted as a field of study. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, most of the early great works in Sociology came from France and Germany. Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx and Max Weber were the most important people in France and Germany, respectively. The works of these so-called “classical” sociologists are still very important in theoretical conversations today. Sociology also grew and changed a lot in the United States, where it was more widely accepted than in Britain. In many ways, the United States up until the early part of this century was the perfect place to study sociology. It was a global, immigrant-based society that was growing and industrialising quickly and going through a lot of social changes. Sociology first took root in the United States in 1890 at the University of Kansas, 1892 at the University of Chicago, and 1897 at Atlanta University, which was an all-black school at the time. From there, sociology spread quickly across North America. In 1880, only four teachers taught sociology courses. Twenty years later, there were 225 teachers and 59 sociology departments.

2. At first, the University of Chicago was the leader in sociology in North America. Albion Small (1854–1926) started this department and also started the American Journal of Sociology. From 1895 to 1925, he was the journal’s director.

3. Just like in Europe, rapid industrialization and urbanisation, along with the social issues they brought, pushed sociology forward in the United States. American sociologists built on the theories and ideas of the European sociologists who started the field and made them even bigger.

4. Lester F. Ward (1841–1913) People often say that Lester Ward was the first organised American sociologist. He tried to put together the major theoretical ideas of Comte and Spencer. He also made a distinction between what he called “pure sociology,” which is the study of society to try to understand and explain the natural laws that govern its evolution, and “applied sociology,” which uses sociological principles, social ideals, and ethical considerations to make society better. Even now, sociologists still make clear differences between these two fields.

5. Jane Addams: Many of the first sociologists were also social reformers, but none were as successful as Jane Addams, who lived from 1860 to 1935 and joined the American Sociological Society when it was founded in 1895. Like Harriet Martineau, Jane Addams grew up with a lot of money and power. She went to the Women’s Medical College of Philadelphia, but she had to quit because she got sick (Addams 1910/1981). During a trip to Europe, Addams saw how people were helping the poor in London. She said that the memory kept coming back to her, so she chose to work for social justice. Addams and Ellen Gates Starr began Hull-House together in 1889. Hull House, which was in Chicago’s well-known slums, was a safe place for newcomers, the sick, the old, and the poor. Sociologists from the University of Chicago, which was close by, often went to Hull-House. Addams tried to bring together the strong and the powerless by writing about how workers were mistreated and how immigrants had to learn to live in the city. She helped start the American Civil Liberties Union and fought for rules against child labour and an eight-hour work day. She wrote books about peace, poverty, and freedom. Adams’s words and work to improve society were so good that in 1931, she shared the Nobel Prize for Peace with two other people. She and Emily Greene Balch are the only sociologists who have won this prestigious award.

6. Margaret Sanger (1883–1966): Margaret Sanger was another important social reformer. She used scientific ideas to solve problems with population, health, and women’s rights. After seeing a poor working-class woman die from an abortion she gave herself, she started printing Woman Rebel, a magazine for working-class women. Her writings were about things like personal hygiene, sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, and even social revolution.

E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963). 7. William E. B. Dubois (1868–1963). Du Bois was the first African American to get a doctorate from Harvard. He got his bachelor’s degree from Fisk University. He then went to school at the University of Berlin, where Max Weber taught. In 1897, Du Bois moved to Atlanta University to teach sociology and do study. At Wilberforce University, he had taught Greek and Latin. He worked there for the majority of his life.

• It is hard to understand how racist people were at this time. One day, as Du Bois walked through Georgia, he saw the fingers of a person who had been lynched in the window of a butcher shop. When Du Bois went to American Sociological Society national meetings, restaurants and motels wouldn’t let him eat or stay with the white sociologists. What a difference time makes. Sociologists today would not only avoid going to these kinds of places, but they would also refuse to hold meetings in that state. At that time, however, racism, like sexism, was widespread, which made it hard for white academics to notice. Du Bois finally became such an outspoken critic of racism that the U.S. State Department refused to give him a passport out of fear that he would criticise the U.S.

• From 1896 to 1914, Du Bois wrote a book every year about how African Americans and whites got along. Du Bois, along with Jane Addams and other Hull-House residents, was one of the people who started the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) (Deegan, 1988). As a sociologist and a writer, Du Bois fought against racism for a long time. Eventually, he became a revolutionary Marxist. At age 93, he was upset that race relations hadn’t changed much, so he went to Ghana, where he is buried (Stark, 1989).

• In his works, Du Bois pointed out that some successful black people were cutting ties with other black people so that white people would like them. He said that this hurt the African American community because it took away their power.

8. Different ideas from Talcott Parsons and C. Wright Mills: Early sociologists in North America, like Du Bois and Addams, saw society or parts of it as flawed and in need of change. During the 1920s and 1930s, for example, Robert Park and Ernest Burgess (1921) not only studied crime, drug addiction, juvenile delinquency, and prostitution, but they also suggested ways to fix these social issues. As the focus moved away from social change and towards objective analysis, Talcott Parsons’ (1902–1979) abstract models of society influenced a whole generation of sociologists. These ideas of how different parts of society work well together didn’t do anything to get people involved in social change. C. Wright Mills, a sociologist who lived from 1916 to 1962, hated these kinds of theoretical ideas. He tried to swing the pendulum back in the other direction by telling sociologists to focus on social change again. In his works, he warned that a power elite, made up of the most powerful people in business, politics, and the military, was putting the country’s freedom in danger because their interests were coming together. After Mills’ death, the 1960s and 1970s, which broke many rules, made a new group of sociologists interested in social activism.

Sociology has been around for a long time, but as an academic field, it is still fairly new, and its fame has grown the most since World War II. We can point to a few things that have led to this growth.

1. Since the end of World War II, people have become more critical of how communities work. Few people accept their society without question. They see that even though there have been many technical and social improvements, there are still problems like overpopulation, poverty, and crime.

2. Along with this, there has been a growing interest in social reform and reorganising society, along with the idea that to make these changes work, you need to know about society and its people.

3. Better travel and communication methods, as well as the mass media, have made people more aware of other cultures and ways of life.

4. More and more people are saying that people who work in government, business, the social services, etc. should have some kind of specialised understanding of society so that they can do their jobs better.

5. The rise of new nation states happened at the same time as rapid modernization. As a result, people in these societies became more aware of the need to study social life scientifically in order to make building a country easier. Because of this, the number of sociology degree programmes has grown a lot since the 1960s. Sociology is now taught in schools, and sociologists are consulted by more and more organisations, from the national government on down, about research programmes, policy, planning, etc. Some sociologists have also become famous in the national media.