Karl Marx And Emile Durkheim Essay

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Writing in the late 19th and early 20th century, during a drastic period of change, Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim, two of sociology’s most renowned thinkers, challenged multiple facets of the capitalist social structures in which they found themselves. Marx, a conflict theorist, and Durkheim, a functionalist, sought to analyze and explain capitalist society. In this brief analysis, their theories regarding the will be compared, contrasted, and critically engaged with - highlighting the differences in their theories and noting some similarities in their underlying assumptions of society. Born in 1818, Marx grew up as the world watched the aftermath of the French Revolution unfold. It’s not surprising that in a feudal society, where social mobility was limited and there were scant opportunities for fulfilling work, that a grand shift in the reach of industry, and capitalism, would have a profound impact on a young Karl Marx. At the core of his work is an emphasis on power relations and class conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat – it was Marx’s belief that society remained in a state of conflict as a result of competition for limited resources, and that social order was achieved through domination by the ruling class, rather than through democracy and/or conformity; this was characterised by the division of labour, and the consequential exploitation of the working class. This earned Marx his title as a conflict theorist, as well as a reputation as a

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