Theorizing based on the authors arguments essay

Theorizing based on the authors arguments essay

This essay is dedicated to the discussion of the modern theorists’ and critics’ contributions to the development of the economic, politic and social aspects of the industrial and post industrial society and their relation to the classical concepts of such outstanding political economists as Smith, Smith, Durkheim, Weber, and Marx. The list of the social scientists who operated within the frames of modernism and postmodernism movements and whose ideas will be researched in the present essay includes Mills, Fanon, Marcuse, Frank, Parsons, and Rostow. It should be indicated that mentioned authors were deeply influenced by their time and environment, by their research activities have reached the peak in the second half of the 20th century, after the end of the World War II.

Mills, Fanon, Marcuse, Frank, Parsons, Fanon, Rostow, Philion and Gimenez represented the social science in the complex post war times, they presented the strategic pattern that allowed the developing world to adopt some needed changes and this way follow their way in economic, social and political development. (Frank, p. 235). It was the times of opposition of the modern and traditional social orders, and one of its aspects was the reference of dualism Third World societies (11/4/11) (they shared both traditional values but aimed to follow the economic and social development like the Western world). (Frank, p. 235)

It’s important to understand the similarities and differences in the views of these social science representatives and I suggest beginning the overview with the prominent American author of the concept of the Social Imagination: Charles Wright Mills. Mills was interested in social classes and their participation in historical progress (Mills p.218-220) and probably therefore it may be presumed that his primary interest was the reason why he was considered as one of the followers of Marxist theory. In addition I have to note that Charles Wright Mills really tried to keep Marxist traditions (Mills p.218-220), although he was never labelled as the true “Marxist” author, He is known for his claims about the role of freedom in the overall social development. (11/4/11).

In this context it’s interesting to mention Mills’ opinion on the faults of both the communist and capitalist societies that include blaming both communist and capitalist societies. (Mills p.218) Besides it, in accordance with other researchers’ opinions, he was also the representative of the modern liberalism, being the follower of the Max Weber traditions (and his sophisticated and rather anti-Marxist approach to the sociology). In his well known work The Sociological Imagination (1959), the mindset of the sociological imagination is being determined by the following elements: history, biography and social structure. (11/4/11), (Mills p.218) . I would say that the major idea of The Sociological Imagination by Mills was the link between the personal troubles of the individual and the social environment this individual operates. (Mills p.218)

Herbert Marcuse is another important figure of the modern social science that is considered as representative of neo-Marxist movement. This theorist was mostly concerned about the roles of the working class, and also the issues of the wealth concentration, the rebellion, the revolution (11/16/11). It appears that Marcuse was very interested in the study of the “radical political consciousness” (Marcuse, p.54) and he indicates that the “radical political consciousness among the masses grows when the economic and social cohesion of the system begin to weaken”. (Marcuse, p.54)

He is known for his critique and concerns about the modern capitalism and the industrialization. (11/16/11). Marcuse states that all these developments may restrict the alternative to capitalism ideas and restrict the opposition to it which is obviously not a healthy situation and will consequently leave to regress in freedom. (11/16/11). Marcuse supports the ideas of Karl Marx’s about the capitalism and its ability to exploiting people and he even has expended this idea of Marx. (Marcuse, p.54) In my opinion Marcuse suggests a very important, but also utterly true consideration of the modern post industrial society, when he describes the faults of the consumer society which are also the faults of capitalism when consumer find their soul in their goods and become the extensions of their commodities. (Marcuse, p.54)

A German-American social theorist Andre Gunder Frank is known for a number of outstanding contributions to the modern social science. One of his books, The Development of Underdevelopment (1966) (Frank, p.233), is interesting for our research because in this book author employs a number of the concepts developed by Marx, but at the same time he rejects his stages and economic history concepts. He is known for creation of the dependence theory.(11/14/11), (Frank, p.233) Frank, like Fanon, claims that the first crucial condition of understanding the problem of the underdevelopment should be searched in the social and economic past of the colonial states. (Frank, p.233)

Both theorists state that the historical development or underdevelopment of trade results in the overall development or underdevelopment of the state. (11/14/11). Frank continues this idea by indicating that the big cities are developed because of the intense trade development. (Frank, p.235)He also doesn’t agree with the idea of the dual society and indicates that following this concept and the appropriate recommendations will lead to the intensifying of the conditions of underdevelopment, and not in their remedy. (Frank, p.235)

Contemporary theory of social science is represented by American sociologist Talcott Parsons. His research has appeared in a very complex period 1945-1950s, and it was substantially influenced by the changes in the post war society. (10/24/11) Parsons’ theorizing may be used as an ‘exemplar’ of neo-evolutionary theory. (Parsons, p.41) He indicated that the there is a number of ‘evolutionary universals’ that have to be adopted by the society in order to move from the primitive to the modern. (10/24/11) He sees the evolution as the “complex of structures and processes which so increases the long-run adaptive capacity of living systems.” (Parsons, p.340)

This theorist suggests the theory of social evolution and the arguments regarding the factors of the evolution in the history. (10/24/11) Parsons also acknowledges an important role of technology as the combination of empirical knowledge and practical techniques’ (Parsons, p. 341) It is important to state that Parsons does not support Marx’s idea regarding the evolution that is provided by going through same stages. Besides it, he also indicates that the social evolution is actually not inevitable. (10/24/11) Parsons says that the tensions among people increase in the case if the primitive society obtains the control over the environment and its complicated to keep the order, and in the results of these amendments the two-class social system appears. (Parsons, p. 341)

Consequently, after the certain period of and, with the urbanization and social development, the simple four-class system is formed (that is when the basic political and religious elites appear as well). (Parsons, p. 341) Finally, with the further development of urban life and social system, the more solid four-class system and it continues to evolve further. This author also relates the overall social development to the process of the development that takes place in the bureaucratic organization. (10/24/11), (Parsons, p. 341)

In the context of bureaucratic authority discussion he agrees with Weber who also pays some of his attention to the issue of bureaucracy. (Parsons, p. 341)He talks about the more efficient social arrangements taking into account the spread of bureaucracy. Another important contribution of Parsons is definitely the association of the evolution and the democratic ideas. (Parsons, p. 341) I would like to mention the contribution made by Parsons into the structural functionalism approach. (10/24/11) He paid his attention and efforts to the analysis of the works by Durkheim and Pareto (Parsons, p.41) viewing their ideas from the voluntaristic action point of view. He is considered as a famous follower of the “structural functionalism theory”. (10/24/11)

Regarding another prominent figure of research, Walt Whitman Rostow, is interesting for us especially because he specialized on the economic issues and also made his significant contribution by developing the the Rostow’s Stages of Growth model that is known as one of the most well known theories of the economic growth of the traditional society. (Rostow, p.1-16) He summarizes a way of generalizing the sweep of modern economic history and suggest the aspect in the analysis of underdevelopment that conflict to the ideas of Frank, Mills and other social theorists. The form of this generalization is a set of stages of growth, which can be designated as follows: the traditional society; the preconditions for take-off; the take-off; the drive to maturity; the age of high mass consumption. (Rostow, p.1)

The period after the Second World War was very complex, and a number of serious social and political transformations have happened. (11/24/11) (Frank, p. 234) I may presume that the first challenge of the modernization was the complexity of the stages of development (previously before the war it was researched more superficially and not that deeply); the situation in the Third Worlds countries; the significant differences between the capitalist and communist world, the social and political changes in the colonies of the Western countries (11/24/11), (Frank, p. 234)

I think that the challenges of the followers of the functional approach who avoided the social changes and supported the stability and also believed that the members of society should cooperate in order to effectively improve the social order has seen some difficulties to relate their theories and both the events on the international political arena and the domestic economic and social policies. (Frank, p. 234), (11/24/11) The rise of industry, the dualism of some societies, the new issues of the rising economy and significant transformation of some states and regions from rural economies to industrial – those were substantial challenges for the functionalist/ modernist theory. (Frank, p. 235)

Modernist approach is characterized by necessity of laws, universality across time and space, predictability, reality, transparency, and also order of structures. (Fanon, p.28) On the contrary to modernism, post-modernist theory is characterized by chance, particular and personal experience, uncertainty, denial of traditions, and also by ambivalence of human design. (11/7/11) (Fanon, p.28)

The major elements of the post-modernist theory in the social and economic science are the following: diminishing of the social and other categories, the denial of the stable sets of values and also sometimes the rejection of the common sense. (11/7/11) (Fanon, p.28) On the contrary to the modernists, the postmodernists deny the power and support the idea of the identity prevalence over it. (Fanon, p.28) According to the post-modernist approach, many economic, politic, and social situations can’t be considered and resolved effectively within the frames of the modernist and liberal approach. (Fanon, p.28) These rejections of the structure, previous order sound especially dramatic for the functionalist approach when there is no revolutionary changes necessary. (Fanon, p.27)

Another well known representative of post-modern approach is the social scientist Frantz Fanon (p.27) who researched on the issue of freedom in the form of the process of decolonization. The concept of freedom challenges the ideas of certain social order and stability that is one of the aspects of the functionalist approach. It is known that the decolonization served an example for his works in the studying the process of evolution. This theorist lived in France in times of serious political and social changes and he followed the events of Algerian revolution against French ruling. (11/7/11) Strictly saying, the major part of his contribution is about the colonialism, its history, influence and development. (Fanon, p.27)

The significant aspect of Fanon’s contribution to the modernist sociology was his attention to the factor of violence in the context of the process of gaining the anti-colonial freedom. (Fanon, p.31) Fanon considered it intrinsically important and also the necessary condition in the process of evolution. (11/7/11) Fanon re-established the Marxists approach toward the pre-capitalist colonial society. (Fanon, p.31)

It should be said that idea of violence that was one of the focuses of Frantz Fanon. (Fanon, p.32) isn’t new. Supporters and critics of violent resistance include also Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Rosa Luxemburg, C.L.R. James, Patrice Lumumba, Georges Sorel, Ernesto Guevara, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. But these prominent people do not always suggest that violence is a necessary factor like Fanon does. (11/7/11) (Fanon, p.32)

The critics and researchers of the new social ideas – Philion and Gimenez – will be discussed in this part of the paper. Gimenez is known for his critique of Marxist approach. (Gimenez, p.23-33) Marx argues that the capitalism has created more inequality among people, so such inequality under capitalism must be thrown Gimenez argues that Marxism “contains the analytical tools necessary to theorize and deepen the understanding of class, gender and race and therefore critically examines, from the standpoint of Marxist theory, the arguments for race, gender and class studies offered by some of their main proponents, assessing their strengths and limitations and demonstrating, in the process, that Marxism is theoretically and politically necessary if the study of class, gender and race is to achieve more than the endless documentation of variations in their relative salience and combined effects in very specific contexts and experiences.” (Gimenez, p.23-33)

Philion is another important contributor known for his overview of the new social movements’ theory. (Philion, p.79) This theory examines the movements that have appeared in the post-industrial economy and that differ from the previous kinds of the social movements of the industrial economy. (Philion, p.79)

Philion states that the followers of social movements theory reject the basics: Marx’s concept of the class primary basis (Philion, p.80) He mentions the works and ideas of the authors of the Frankfurt School (such as Marcuse and Habermas), Melucci and Eder, Laclau and Mouffe. (Philion, p.79)

Stephen Philion indicates on the difference between the major goals of the movements of the industrial economy that were mostly related to the economic wellbeing and the major goals of the new social movements which are the social and basic human rights (not material kind), new cultural and social cleavage (in other words, these new movements originate from the broad societal transformations). (Philion, p.79) So there is a contrast between the meanings of structure and culture. These movements are characterized by the processes of democratization, politicization, and also mobilization of the society. (Philion, p.79)