Essay about Emile Durkheim vs Karl Marx

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The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were full of evolving social and economic ideas. These views of the social structure of urban society came about through the development of ideas taken from the past revolutions. As the Industrial Revolution progressed through out the world, so did the gap between the class structures. The development of a capitalist society was a very favorable goal for the upper class. By using advanced methods of production introduced by the Industrial Revolution, they were able to earn a substantial surplus by ruling the middle class. Thus, maintaining their present class of life, while the middle class was exploited and degraded. At this time in history, social theorists like Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx …show more content…

In Durkheim's opinion a whole is not identical to the sum of its parts, thus society is not just a mere sum of individuals. A good example of functionalist perspective is Emile Durkheim's theory about religion. According to Durkheim, religion in not about supernatural beings but rather about beliefs and practices, which are the collective representations of society and groups. Because Durkheim's main interest was the ways in which society is bound together, he investigated the role and the origin of religion in various communities. He believed that a simpler society has a simpler religion. Durkheim claims that, "a religion as closely connected to a social system surpassing all others in simplicity may well be regarded as the most elementary religion we can possibly know" (Ritzer, 91). For instance Durkheim argues that totemism a religious system in which animal figures are regarded as sacred is among the simplest religious forms in the world. The totemic animal, Durkheim believed, was the original focus of religious activity because it was the emblem for a social group, "the clan" (Ritzer, 91). He thought the model for the relationships between people and the supernatural was similar to the relationship between individuals and the community. For him the function of religion was to make people willing to put the interests of society ahead of

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