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Classical Sociological Theories

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Classical sociological theory - Marx, Weber, Durkheim

In this lecture, Dr. Tom Rudel overviews three classical sociological theorists – Marx, Weber and Durkheim. He notes that all three are structuralists, but that each identifies a different force that structures economic activity and outcomes. He describes Marx’s focus on the factory as the site of consumption and production, and he notes the contemporary theories of the treadmill of production and world systems as deriving from Marx’s theories. He then summarizes the theories of Weber, who sees the rationalized state as structuring production and consumption, and he highlights ecological modernization and notions of a world society as updates of Weber’s theories. Finally, he discusses Durkheim’s ideas about occupations and the division of labor as structuring economic activity, and notes the theoretical assumption that stability and technological developments are generated by economic specialization.

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Classical Sociological Theories

This Lecture talks about Classical Sociological Theories.
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Classical Sociological Theory

A summary of the three core foundational theoretical schools in Sociology: Functionalism, Conflict Theory, and Symbolic Interactionism. Made for SOCA03: Introduction to Sociology, taught 2018-2019 at the University of Toronto Scarborough by Lawrence Williams.

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Sociological Theory and Levels of Analysis

Companion lecture for Openstax Introduction to Sociology Edition 2, Chapter 1: Sociological Theory. Discussion includes Macro-Micro perspectives, and Functional, Conflict, Interaction and Feminist Theories.
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8.8 Classical Sociological Theories: a Focus on Long Term Trends

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Karl Marx & Conflict Theory: Crash Course Sociology #6

Today we’ll continue to explore sociology’s founding theorists with a look at Karl Marx and his idea of historical materialism. We’ll discuss modes of production, their development, and how they fit into Marx’s overall theory of historical development, along with class struggle and revolution. We’ll also discuss how Marx’s ideas gave rise to Gramsci’s idea of hegemony, and to conflict theories more generally.

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SOCIOLOGY - Max Weber

Max Weber explained that modern capitalism was born not because of new technology or new financial instruments. What started it all off was religion. SUBSCRIBE to our channel for new films every week:
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1. Three Founding Sociological Theories

A brief introduction to the three most classic sociological theories: Conflict Theory, Structural Functionalism, and Symbolic Interactionism.

Classical Theories of Sociology

Multimedia Presentation regarding the Classical Theories of Sociology, includes Auguste Comte, Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx and Max Weber
Outline:
I. Introduction
II. Timeline o f the Classical Theories of Sociology
- includes questions they wanted to answer and the status of society
III. Auguste Comte
- Law of Three Stages
IV. Emile Durkheim
- His work on suicide, collective conscience and social facts
V. Karl Marx
- Historical and Dialectic Materialism (with matrix)
VI. Max Wber
- His work on the Protestant Ethic
VII. Conlusion

SOCIOLOGY - Émile Durkheim

Emile Durkheim was a French 19th century sociologist who focused on what modern capitalism does to our minds - and concluded that it might, quite literally, be driving us to an early grave. Please subscribe here:
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The Self: Classical Sociology - The Chicago School

CMC, sociology, the self, the Chicago school, the dramaturgy, looking glass self, generalized other, performer, audience, props, definition of the situation

What is SOCIAL THEORY? What does SOCIAL THEORY mean? SOCIAL THEORY meaning, definition & explanation

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What is SOCIAL THEORY? What does SOCIAL THEORY mean? SOCIAL THEORY meaning - SOCIAL THEORY definition - SOCIAL THEORY explanation.

Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under license.

Social theories are frameworks of empirical evidence used to study and interpret social phenomena. A tool used by social scientists, social theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies (e.g. positivism and antipositivism), as well as the primacy of either structure or agency. Certain social theories attempt to remain strictly scientific, descriptive, and objective. Conflict theories, by contrast, present ostensibly normative positions, and often critique the ideological aspects inherent in conventional, traditional thought.

?he origins of social theory are difficult to pinpoint, but debates frequently return to Ancient Greece (Berberoglu 2005, p. xi). From these foundations in Western philosophy arose Enlightenment social contract theory, sociological positivism, and modern social science. Today, 'social science' is used as an umbrella term to refer to sociology, economics, political science, jurisprudence, and other disciplines. Social theory is interdisciplinary and draws upon ideas from fields as diverse as anthropology and media studies. Social theory of an informal nature, or authorship based outside of academic social and political science, may be referred to instead as social criticism or social commentary. Similarly, cultural criticism may be associated both with formal cultural and literary scholarship, as well as other non-academic or journalistic forms of writing.

Social theory as a distinct discipline emerged in the 20th century and was largely equated with an attitude of critical thinking, based on rationality, logic and objectivity, and the desire for knowledge through a posteriori methods of discovery, rather than a priori methods of tradition.

In the past few decades, largely in response to postmodern critiques, social theory has begun to stress free will, individual choice, subjective reasoning, and the importance of unpredictable events in place of deterministic necessity. Rational Choice Theory and Symbolic Interactionism furnish two examples of more recent developments. False necessity is another. A not uncommon view among contemporary sociologists is that there are no great unifying 'laws of history', but rather smaller, more specific, and more complex laws that govern society.

Philosopher and politician Roberto Mangabeira Unger has more recently attempted to revise classical social theory by exploring how things fit together, rather than to provide an all encompassing single explanation of a universal reality. He begins by recognizing the key insight of classical social theory of society as an artifact, and then by discarding the law-like characteristics forcibly attached to it. Unger argues that classical social theory was born proclaiming that society is made and imagined, and not the expression of an underlying natural order, but at the same time its capacity was checked by the equally prevalent ambition to create law-like explanations of history and social development. The human sciences that developed claimed to identify a small number of possible types of social organization that coexisted or succeeded one another through inescapable developmental tendencies or deep-seated economic organization or psychological constraints. Marxism is the star example.

Calling his efforts super-theory, Unger has thus sought to develop a comprehensive view of history and society, but to do so without subsuming deep structure analysis under an indivisible and repeatable type of social organization or with recourse to lawlike constraints and tendencies. His most forceful articulation of such a theory is in False Necessity: anti-necessitarian social theory in the service of radical democracy, where he employs deep-logic practice to theorize human social activity through anti-necessitarian analysis.
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Contemporary sociological theory - Micro, macro and integrative

In this collaborative presentation, Dr. Simone Pulver provides a summary of contemporary sociological theory, organizing theorists and schools of thought in terms of their historical genesis and the level of analysis on which they focus. Several sociologists then present the key ideas of specific contemporary theorists. Dr. Dana Fisher discusses Giddens’ idea of structuration, which integrates structure and agency, and Habermas’ notions of deliberative democracy. Dr. Lori Peek summarizes symbolic interactionism, highlighting the focus on symbols and their interpretation based on individual and social experience. Dr. Andrew Jorgenson presents world systems theory from the Chase-Dunn perspective, and focuses on the trends in interstate relationships and structures. Finally, Dr. Kristal Jones discusses Polanyi and Bourdieu’s theories about the institution and maintenance of economic structures embedded in social systems.

More information on the Immersion Program and other lectures can be found here:

Classical Sociological Theory (Structuralism)

For those looking for information on structuralist theorist such as Durkhiem, Marx and Weber

Durkheim, Marx, Weber

Overview of sociological theories: Durkheim, Marx, Weber
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2.5 Exchange and Self-interest

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Max Weber & Modernity: Crash Course Sociology #9

This week we are wrapping up our overview of sociology’s core frameworks and founding theorists with a look Max Weber and his understanding of the modern world. We’ll explore rationalization and the transition from traditional to modern society. We’ll also discuss bureaucracy, legitimacy, and social stratification in the modern state. Finally, we’ll see why Weber was so worried about the modern world.

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Crash Course is on Patreon! You can support us directly by signing up at

Thanks to the following Patrons for their generous monthly contributions that help keep Crash Course free for everyone forever:

Mark, Les Aker, Bob Kunz, Mark Austin, William McGraw, Jeffrey Thompson, Ruth Perez, Jason A Saslow, Eric Prestemon, Malcolm Callis, Steve Marshall, Advait Shinde, Rachel Bright, Ian Dundore, Tim Curwick, Ken Penttinen, Dominic Dos Santos, Caleb Weeks, Frantic Gonzalez, Kathrin Janßen, Nathan Taylor, Yana Leonor, Andrei Krishkevich, Brian Thomas Gossett, Chris Peters, Kathy & Tim Philip, Mayumi Maeda, Eric Kitchen, SR Foxley, Tom Trval, Andrea Bareis, Moritz Schmidt, Jessica Wode, Daniel Baulig, Jirat
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1.6 Linking Classical to Contemporary Theories

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Social Currents for Classical Sociological Theory

A movie for my Classical Sociology class where we talk about how Durkheim's notion of social currents could be applied to the Obama and Phillies hysteria this fall.

by (in alphabetical order)

Meghan Dolan
Catherine Lenahan
Joseph Massaro
Salvatore Profaci
and Kelley Szelingowski

1.3 What is Sociological Theory?

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