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Chapter 4 Society I. Society. Society refers to people who interact in a defined territory and share culture. This chapter explores four important theoretical views explaining the nature of human societies, focusing on the work of Gerhard Lenski, Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim. II. Gerhard Lenski: Society and Technology. Gerhard Lenski (Nolan & Lenski, 2010) focuses on sociocultural evolution, the changes that occur as a society acquires new technology. According to Lenski, the more technological information a society has, the faster it changes. New technology sends ripples of change through a society’s entire way of life. Lenski’s work identifies five types of societies based on their level of technology. A. Hunting and…show more content…
3. He considered the economy the infrastructure on which all other social institutions, i.e., the superstructure, were based. The institutions of modern societies, he argued, tend to reinforce capitalist domination. 4. Marx’s approach is based on materialism, which asserts that the production of material goods shapes all aspects of society. 5. According to Marx, most people in modern societies do not pay much attention to social conflict, because they are trapped in false consciousness, explanations of social problems that blame the shortcomings of individuals rather than the flaws of society. B. Conflict and history. Marx argued that early hunting and gathering societies were based on highly egalitarian primitive communism, and that society became less equal as it moved toward modern industrial capitalism dominated by the bourgeoisie class (capitalists). C. Capitalism and class conflict. Industrial capitalism contains two major social classes—the ruling class and the oppressed—reflecting the two basic positions in the productive system. Marx viewed class conflict, antagonism between entire classes over the distribution of wealth and power in society, as inevitable. 1. In order for conflict to occur, the proletariat must achieve class consciousness, workers’ recognition of their unity as a class in opposition to capitalists and, ultimately, to capitalism itself. Then workers

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