Essay by cuetCollege, UndergraduateB+, November 2004

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

The perspectives of Weber, Marx, Durkheim, and Toennies all share the common

concept of modernization and the character of a modernized society; however, each had

relatively unique perspectives of the positive and negative effects on our society.

Each attributes the cause of modernization to the Industrial Revolution, citing the

development of a new mutual dependence based on economic diversity as opposed to

traditional communities based on close ties to family, friends and a shared specific

economy. Increased urbanization results in a greater percentage of the general population

living in highly industrialized areas with specific economic activities. Capitalism relies

on the increased efficiency of industrialization in order to progress, which requires

individuals to develop highly specialized skills. This results in a necessity to rely on

others to provide the necessities of survival, and a new sense of society develops.

Toennies believed modernization would lead to an impersonal society with individuals

associating based on their own their personal needs, a state he called Gesellschaft in

contrast to Geimenschaft, the traditional sense of community.

Durkheim had a more

optimistic view of modernity, recognizing the diversity this would develop, but worried

about the possibility of such diversity resulting in variable, fragile morals and societal

standards. Weber believed that modernization would lead to an upheaval of traditional

beliefs and a disillusioned society where rational thought would consume us. Marx saw

capitalism as the new basis for our society. He recognized the aforementioned effects, but

felt that they were necessary steps on the path to modernization and capitalism. The

perceived anti-capitalist views held by Marx, are somewhat inaccurate. While

disapproving of capitalism in principle, he saw capitalism as being the cause of inevitable

social upheaval and a classless society with all the benefits and technologies of industry

being applied to benefit all...