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Durkheim Marx and Weber’s argument of society sample essay

Durkheim concept of anomie differed from Marx and Weber’s concepts of alienation on the idea of how modernity rose. That is, they differed on their argument about how the old system isolated people from humanity. Durkheim argued that the shifting of the society to modernity was through disorganization and societies achieved modernity as they tried to adapt to disorganizations. Marx’s argument on society modernity was based on class conflict while Weber argued on political causes.

Durkheim argued that the division of the society based on classes helped in creating interdependence (Macionis, 2013). Although social stratification was a social problem, Durkheim viewed as normalness (anomie) in the society. He believed that anomie was a characteristic of disorganized society or one that was undergoing changes. People lived in the same place in the past as communities and shared the same beliefs. However, changes in cultural, social, political, and religious systems started occurring in the society (Macionis, 2013). Since the changes were slow and had no significant effects on the people, they started experiencing anomie. The results of anomie were suicide, crime, and other social evils that became prevalent in the modern society.

Unlike Durkheim who focused on class division and society disorganization, Marx’s argument on alienation focused on conflict between classes as the cause of modernity in the society (Macionis, 2013). The conflict between capitalists and working class brought a gap in the society. The capitalist started accumulating profits through exploitation of the working class. The capitalist dominated in the society and alienated the working class and thus the latter had to depend on the former to provide for their families. The result was competition in the society, which became the major characteristic of modernity.

Consequently, Weber argument on alienation differed from Durkheim anomie argument in that he based his argument political factors (Macionis, 2013). According to Weber, legal authority governed the society through rules. Although the rules were the most efficient form of authority, decision by the society to follow the rules fully would result in faulty checks on the authority. As a result bad governance and oppression of the society emanated.


Macionis, J. (2013). Sociology. Pearson Education

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