Part A: What factors bring about change in modern societies? Discuss with reference to thinkers examined in Unit 2. • Part B: Might change in modern polities be justified by the social contract? Discuss with reference to thinkers examined in Unit 1.

Essay by genie1990 October 2014

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Part A

In this article, the concept of modern society is not as same as the contemporary society as we live now. The term of modern society here is used in a hypothetic way which emphasizing the transformation of the existing or current society. The focus of this essay is contrasting and critically examining the argued transformation factors by Karl Marx and Max Weber. The three main factors of transformation of the modern society are a change of legitimizing power and the class conflict.

There are two distinctive approaches of the explanation of the change of the societies by two thinkers. In Marx's political points of view, the beginning of social transformation comes with the alteration of the economic foundation which leads the entire change of the politics which is prescribed as superstructure by him (Marx 1859). Therefore in his conclusion it is impossible for superstructure to act as an independent variable, it always affects from its understructure.

However, 'Weber sought to understand the transformation of society itself.'(Heywood 2007). According to Weber, the politic has its autonomous decisive factors to form a new society and it is also affected by not only economical foundation but also many other factors for instance religious, cultural, and legal factors. The society change which initiated from the economical foundation not always concluded as a change of the politics. Weber also describes three 'conceptual models (Heywood 2007)' of authority: traditional, charismatic, legal-rational authority. The traditional authority has a factor of obeying its custom. The succession of the crown was legitimized by the continuity of the existence of this tradition. One of the famous charismatic figures is Abraham Lincoln, the president of the United States, whom seized the political power through his personal ability. Weber states that in most modern societies...