Comte Durkheim And Marx

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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Illustrate the role of early social thinkers, such as Comte, Durkheim, and Marx.

There were many contributors to early sociological thinking and such a diverse discipline could not be attributed to one person. There is no single perspective but many and these along with theorists change over time. When looking at the origins of sociology it is those whose ideas and theories are still influential to this day that are considered to be the founders of sociology. Theories are an important part of sociology they help to understand and explain the nature of the social world. It was towards the end of the industrial revolution that the social sciences began to emerge, giving rise to concerns about social order due to the massive rises in population. Beginning with introductions to three of the early social thinkers and an exploration of their views and theories the reasons why they are considered pioneers will become clear.

The French author August Comte was born in Montpellier in 1796 and grew up during the years following the French Revolution which were times of vast changes. Comte wanted to make sociology the 'queen of sciences' and Comte's importance in the history of sociology is due to his invention of the word 'sociology' which he invented in 1839. He used this term to describe the subject of his studies because he wanted to distinguish his studies and views from those of others. (Giddens 1993:706) One of Comte's leading ideas was that society should be studied using the same methods that were being used in the natural sciences. This approach is known as positivism and it presented science as the study of observable phenomena. For Comte positivism involved emphasis on "rational, critical thought and the use of evidence" (Fulcher and Scott 1999:26). Comte also contributed to the...