Marxism Theory in The Corporate World Analysis Paper

Question Description


Students will be required to write one standard format, five-page paper. This theory application assignment will ask you to select and apply ONE theoretical perspective (e.g., Durkheim or Exchange Theory) to an empirical case of your choosing.

The application papers are intended for you to examine one specific theoretical concept introduced in the reading and lecture and “apply” or “use” them to understand a “real world” social issue found in contemporary society. In writing each application paper you will be expected to demonstrate:

(1) an accurate understanding of your chosen concept and (2) an ability to use the concept to “frame” the

social issue being presented. Basically, you’ll demonstrate how your concept helps us to gain new insight into something that’s happening in the world today. These papers are to no more than 5 pages long. They must be typed (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 11 or 12 point New Times Roman /Calibri font) and follow correct citation and referencing procedures (APA).

Paper content and organization


Please begin your analysis with a brief summary the concept of interest to you and link it to the appropriate theorist or theoretical perspective. The concept should be taken from assigned class reading. Be sure to cite the source of your concept following the citation format instructions. Examples of the types of concepts I’m referring to here might be: solidarity, anomie, alienation, surplus value, Protestant ethic, habitus, cultural capital, etc. In addition to providing a definition/description of the concept, provide an example to further illustrate your understanding.


Once you have clearly explained the concept, move onto a few paragraphs that describe or summarize the key parts of the contemporary societal phenomenon. Just tell us about the most important facets of the social phenomenon for a better understanding of what it is and why it might be important. These paragraphs should merely summarize the information presented (wait until the next section to “apply” the concepts).


In the next part of the paper show how each part of the theoretical concept manifests itself. What part of the social phenomenon made you think about each theoretical concept? The type of experience I’m referring to here is of the sort: “Hey! That sounds just like what we were reading about in theory last week.” Explain the connection. What made you see this link and help us to see it like you did? This takes some real critical thinking skill and is what is meant by“application.” You are using theoretical concepts to help us solve (or “frame”) a particular sociological “puzzle” that may have arisen in contemporary society. Note: Using specific descriptions will really help you to clearly demonstrate the connection to your theoretical concept. This can help you to explain what specifically made you think that the theoretical concept was being illustrated in this particular facet of contemporary society.


Conclude the paper with a summary of your main points. What insights do you want the reader to take away from your paper? What should the reader really remember about what you’ve said in the paper?


At the end of the paper, include a reference page.


Ø Explain the theory.

Before you critique a theory, you need to “discover” it, and bring it into being in the context of your paper. Establish its context and purpose, and delineate its main argument. Consider the questions you asked yourself while reading.

One way this can be done is to define the theory using an aside:

Marx’s theory of historical materialism—the notion that history is a result of material conditions rather than ideas—characterizes his approach to societal change.

Ø Define terminology.

Even though the professor knows the terminology being used by the author of the text you are analyzing, it is important to introduce these terms and bring them from the theorist’s world to our own.

The idea that catalyzes and gives way to the core of Durkheim’s argument is “anomie.” Anomie is the condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals

Ø Use the active voice.

Not only is it more interesting, but using the passive voice also seems inherently not sociological, as it eliminates a main actor of the situation.

It has been suggested by Weber that bureaucracies have become the dominant form of social organization in modern society.

Might turn into…

Weber suggests that bureaucracies have become the dominant form of social organization in modern society.

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SAGE was founded in 1965 by Sara Miller McCune to support the dissemination of usable knowledge by publishing innovative and high-quality research and teaching content. Today, we publish more than 750 journals, including those of more than 300 learned societies, more than 800 new books per year, and a growing range of library products including archives, data, case studies, reports, conference highlights, and video. SAGE remains majority-owned by our founder, and on her passing will become owned by a charitable trust that secures our continued independence. Los Angeles | London | Washington DC | New Delhi | Singapore Copyright © 2015 by SAGE Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Edles, Laura Desfor. Sociological theory in the classical era : text and readings / Laura Desfor Edles, Scott Appelrouth.— Third edition. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4522-0361-4 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Sociology—History. 2. Sociology—Philosophy. 3. Sociologists—Biography. I. Appelrouth, Scott, 1965– II. Title. HM461.E35 2015 301.01—dc23 2014031195 This book is printed on acid-free paper. 14 15 16 17 18 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 FOR INFORMATION: SAGE Publications, Inc. 2455 Teller Road Thousand Oaks, California 91320 E-mail: SAGE Publications Ltd. 1 Oliver’s Yard 55 City Road London EC1Y 1SP United Kingdom SAGE Publications India Pvt. Ltd. B 1/I 1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area Mathura Road, New Delhi 110 044 India SAGE Publications Asia-Pacific Pte. Ltd. 3 Church Street #10-04 Samsung Hub Singapore 049483 Acquisitions Editor: Jeff Lasser Editorial Assistant: Nick Pachelli Production Editor: David C. Felts Copy Editor: Pam Suwinsky Typesetter: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd. Proofreader: Jeff Bryant Indexer: David Luljak Cover Designer: Anthony Paular Marketing Manager: Erica DeLuca CONTENTS Preface About the Authors 1. Introduction What Is Sociological Theory? Why Read Original Works? Who Are Sociology’s Core Theorists? How Can We Navigate Sociological Theory? Discussion Questions 2. Karl Marx A Biographical Sketch Intellectual Influences and Core Ideas Marx’s Theoretical Orientation Readings Discussion Questions 3. Émile Durkheim A Biographical Sketch Intellectual Influences and Core Ideas Durkheim’s Theoretical Orientation Readings Discussion Questions 4. Max Weber A Biographical Sketch Intellectual Influences and Core Ideas Weber’s Theoretical Orientation Readings Discussion Questions 5. Charlotte Perkins Gilman A Biographical Sketch Intellectual Influences and Core Ideas Gilman’s Theoretical Orientation Readings Discussion Questions 6. Georg Simmel A Biographical Sketch Intellectual Influences and Core Ideas Simmel’s Theoretical Orientation Readings Discussion Questions 7. W. E. B. Du Bois A Biographical Sketch Intellectual Influences and Core Ideas Du Bois’s Theoretical Orientation Readings Discussion Questions 8. George Herbert Mead A Biographical Sketch Intellectual Influences and Core Ideas Mead’s Theoretical Orientation Readings Discussion Questions Glossary and Terminology References Index PREFACE very semester, we begin our sociological theory courses by telling students that we love sociological theory, and that one of our goals is to get each and every one of them to love theory too. This challenge we set for ourselves makes teaching sociological theory exciting. If you teach “sexy” topics like the sociology of drugs, crime, or sex, students come into class expecting to be titillated. By contrast, when you teach sociological theory, students tend to come into class expecting the course to be abstract, dry, and absolutely irrelevant to their lives. The fun in teaching sociological theory is in proving students wrong. The thrill in teaching sociological theory is in helping students to see that sociological theory is absolutely central to their everyday lives—and fascinating as well. What a reward it is to have students who adamantly insisted that they “hated” theory at the beginning of the semester be “converted” into theorists by the end! E In teaching sociological theory, we use original texts. We rely on original texts in part because every time we read these works we derive new meaning from them. Core sociological works tend to become “core” precisely for this reason. However, using original readings requires that the professor spend lots of time and energy explaining issues and material that is unexplained or taken for granted by the theorist. This book was born of this process—teaching from original works and explaining them to our students. Hence, this book includes the original readings we use in our courses, as well as our interpretation and explanation of them. Thus, this book is distinct in that it is both a reader and a text. It is unlike existing readers in several ways, however. First and foremost, this book is not just a collection of seemingly disconnected readings. Rather, in this book we provide an overarching theoretical framework within which to understand, compare, and contrast these selections. In our experience, this overarching theoretical framework is essential in explaining the relevance and excitement of sociological theory. In addition, we discuss the social and intellectual milieu in which the selections were written, as well as their contemporary relevance. Thus, we connect these seemingly disparate works not only theoretically, but also via concrete applications to today’s world. Finally, this theory book is unique in that we provide a variety of visuals and pedagogical devices—historical and contemporary photographs, and diagrams and charts illuminating core theoretical concepts and comparing specific ideas—to enhance student understanding. Our thinking is, Why should only introductory-level textbooks have visual images and pedagogical aids? Most everyone, not just the youngest audiences, enjoys—and learns from—visuals. The third edition of this book is distinct in that it includes even more visual elements, contemporary applications, and examples. It also includes additional discussion questions as well as a glossary to assist students in familiarizing themselves with the key terms. As is often the case in book projects, this turned out to be a much bigger and thornier project than either of us first imagined. And, in the process of writing this book, we have accrued many intellectual and social debts. First, we especially thank Jerry Westby of SAGE for helping us get this project started. It is now more than a decade ago since Jerry walked into our offices at California State University, Northridge, and turned what had been a nebulous, long-standing idea into a concrete plan. Diana Axelsen, who oversaw the first edition of this book through its final stages of production, made several critical suggestions regarding the layout of the book that we continue to appreciate. In the production of this third edition, we are grateful to the reviewers who provided important ideas for improving the book and the members of the SAGE production team: Jeff Lasser, David Felts, Nicki Pachelli, and Pam Suwinsky, all of whom made the process of finalizing this edition extraordinarily smooth. We thank them for their conscientiousness and hard work. We thank the following reviewers for their comments: For the First Edition Cynthia Anderson University of Iowa Jeralynn Cossman Mississippi State University Lara Foley University of Tulsa Paul Gingrich University of Regina Leslie Irvine University of Colorado Doyle McCarthy Fordham University Martha A. Myers University of Georgia Riad Nasser Farleigh Dickinson University Paul Paolucci Eastern Kentucky University Chris Ponticelli University of South Florida Larry Ridener Pfeiffer University Chaim Waxman Rutgers University For the Second Edition James J. Dowd University of Georgia Alison Faupel Emory University Greg Fulkerson SUNY Oneonta Gesine Hearn Idaho State University Jacques Henry University of Louisiana at Lafayette Gabe Ignatow University of North Texas David Levine Florida Atlantic University E. Dianne Mosley Texas Southern University For the Third Edition David Arditi University of Texas at Arlington Meghan Ashlin Rich University of Scranton William J. Haller Clemson University Ting Jiang Metropolitan State University of Denver Jeanne Lorentzen Northern Michigan University Robert Shelby University of Louisville George Wilson University of Miami Finally, we both thank our families—Amie, Alex, and Julia; and Mike, Benny, and Ellie—for supporting us while we spent so much time and energy on this project. ABOUT THE AUTHORS Laura Desfor Edles (PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, 1990) is Professor of Sociology at California State University, Northridge. She is the author of Symbol and Ritual in the New Spain: The Transition to Democracy after Franco (1998) and Cultural Sociology in Practice (2002), as well as various articles on culture, theory, race/ethnicity, and social movements. Scott Appelrouth (PhD, New York University, 2000) is Professor at California State University, Northridge. His interests include sociological theory, cultural sociology, and social movements. He has taught classical and contemporary theory at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and has published several articles in research- and teaching-oriented journals on social movements, theory, and the controversies over jazz during the 1920s and rap during the 1980s. His current research focuses on political discourse in American party platforms. 1 INTRODUCTION SOURCE: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll; illustration by John Tenniel. (1960) New York: Penguin. Used by permission. Key Concepts Theory Order Collective/individual Action Rational/nonrational Enlightenment Counter-Enlightenment “But I’m not a serpent, I tell you!” said Alice. “I’m a—I’m a—” “Well! What are you?” said the Pigeon. “I can see you’re trying to invent something!” “I—I’m a little girl,” said Alice, rather doubtfully, as she remembered the number of changes she had gone through that day. “A likely story indeed!” said the Pigeon, in a tone of the deepest contempt. “I’ve seen a good many little girls in my time, but never one with such a neck as that! No, no! You’re a serpent; and there’s no use denying it. I suppose you’ll be telling me next that you never tasted an egg!” “I have tasted eggs, certainly,” said Alice, who was a very truthful child; “but little girls eat eggs quite as much as serpents do, you know.” “I don’t believe it,” said the Pigeon; “but if they do, why, then they’re a kind of serpent: that’s all I can say.” —Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865/1960:54) n the passage above, the Pigeon had a theory: Alice is a serpent because she has a long neck and eats eggs. Alice, however, had a different theory: she was a little girl. It was not the “facts” that were disputed in the above passage, however. Alice freely admitted she had a long neck and ate eggs. So why did Alice and the Pigeon come to such different conclusions? Why didn’t the facts “speak for themselves”? I Alice and the Pigeon both interpreted the question (What is Alice?) using the categories, concepts, and assumptions with which each was familiar. It was these unarticulated concepts, assumptions, and categories that led the Pigeon and Alice to have such different conclusions. Likewise, social life can be perplexing and complex. It is hard enough to know “the facts,” let alone to know why things are as they seem. In this regard, theory is vital to making sense of social life because it holds assorted observations and facts together (as it did for Alice and the Pigeon). Facts make sense only because we interpret them using preexisting categories and assumptions, that is, “theories.” The point is that even so-called facts are based on implicit assumptions and unacknowledged presuppositions. Whether or not we are consciously aware of them, our everyday life is filled with theories as we seek to understand the world around us. The importance of formal sociological theorizing is that it makes assumptions and categories explicit, hence makes them open to examination, scrutiny, and reformulation. To be sure, some students find classical sociological theory as befuddling as Alice found her conversation with the Pigeon. Some students find it difficult to understand and interpret what classical theorists are saying. Indeed, some students wonder why they have to read works written more than a century ago, or why they have to study sociological theory at all. After all, they maintain, classical sociological theory is abstract and dry and has “nothing to do with my life.” So why not just study contemporary theory (or, better yet, just examine empirical “reality”), and leave the old, classical theories behind? In this book, we seek to demonstrate the continuing relevance of classical sociological theory. We argue that the theorists whose work you will read in this book are vital: first, because they helped chart the course of the discipline of sociology from its inception until the present time, and second, because their concepts and theories still permeate contemporary concerns. Sociologists still seek to explain such critical issues as the nature of capitalism, the basis of social solidarity or cohesion, the role of authority in social life, the benefits and dangers posed by modern bureaucracies, the dynamics of gender and racial oppression, and the nature of the “self,” to name but a few. Classical sociological theory provides a pivotal conceptual base with which to explore today’s world. To be sure, this world is more complex than it was a century ago, or for that matter, than it has been throughout most of human history, during which time individuals lived in small bands as hunter-gatherers. With agricultural and later industrial advances, however, societies grew increasingly complex. The growing complexity, in turn, led to questions about what is distinctively “modern” about contemporary life. Sociology was born as a way of thinking about just such questions; today, we face similar questions about the “postmodern” world. The concepts and ideas introduced by classical theorists enable us to ponder the causes and consequences of the incredible rate and breadth of change. The purpose of this book is to provide students not only with core classical sociological readings, but also with a framework for comprehending them. In this introductory chapter, we discuss (1) what sociological theory is, (2) why it is important for students to read the original works of the “core” figures in sociology, (3) who these “core” theorists are, and (4) how students can develop a more critical and gratifying understanding of some of the most important ideas advanced by these theorists. To this end, we introduce a metatheoretical framework that enables students to navigate, compare, and contrast the theorists’ central ideas as well as to contemplate any social issue within our own increasingly complex world. WHAT IS SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY? Theory is a system of generalized statements or propositions about phenomena. There are two additional features, however, that together distinguish scientific theories from other idea systems such as those found in religion or philosophy. Scientific theories 1. explain and predict the phenomena in question, and 2. produce testable and thus falsifiable hypotheses. Universal laws are intended to explain and predict events occurring in the natural or physical world. For instance, Isaac Newton established three laws of motion. The first law, the law of inertia, states that objects in motion will remain in motion and objects at rest will remain at rest, unless acted on by another force. In its explanation and predictions regarding the movement of objects, this law extends beyond the boundaries of time and space. For their part, sociologists seek to develop or refine general statements about some aspect of social life. For example, a long-standing (although not uncontested) sociological theory predicts that as a society becomes more modern, the salience of religion will decline. Similar to Newton’s law of inertia, the secularization theory, as it is called, is not restricted in its scope to any one time period or population. Instead, it is an abstract proposition that can be tested in any society once the key concepts making up the theory—“modern” and “religion”—are defined, and once observable measures are specified. Thus, sociological theories share certain characteristics with theories developed in other branches of science. However, there are significant differences between social and other scientific theories (i.e., theories in the social sciences as opposed to the natural sciences) as well. First, sociological theories tend to be more evaluative and critical than theories in the natural sciences. Sociological theories are often rooted in implicit moral assumptions that contrast with traditional notions of scientific objectivity. In other words, it is often supposed that the pursuit of scientific knowledge should be free from value judgments or moral assessments, that the first and foremost concern of science is to uncover what is, not what ought to be. Indeed, such objectivity is often cast as a defining feature of science, one that separates it from other forms of knowledge based on tradition, religion, or philosophy. But sociologists tend to be interested not only in understanding the workings of society, but also in realizing a more just or equitable social order. As you will see, the work of the core classical theorists is shaped in important respects by their own moral sensibilities regarding the condition of modern societies and what the future may bring. Thus, sociological theorizing at times falls short of the “ideal” science practiced more closely (though still imperfectly) by “hard” sciences like physics, biology, or chemistry. For some observers, this failure to conform consistently to the ideals of either science or philosophy is a primary reason for the discipline’s troublesome identity crisis and “ugly duckling” status within the academic world. For others, it represents the opportunity to develop a unique understanding of social life. A second difference between sociological theories and those found in other scientific disciplines stems from the nature of their respective subjects. Societies are always in the process of change, while the changes themselves can be spurred by any number of causes including internal conflicts, wars with other countries, scientific or technological advances, or through the expansion of economic markets that in turn spread foreign cultures and goods. As a result, it is more difficult to fashion universal laws to explain societal dynamics. Moreover, we must also bear in mind that humans, unlike other animals or naturally occurring elements in the physical world, are motivated to act by a complex array of social and psychological forces. Our behaviors are not the product of any one principle; instead, they can be driven by selfinterest, altruism, loyalty, passion, tradition, or habit, to name but a few factors. From these remarks, you can see the difficulties inherent in developing universal laws of societal development and individual behavior, despite our earlier example of the secularization t …
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