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Marx and classical Sociology

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Chapter Summary

Classical sociologists worked within a milieu where at least one horizon carved by Marx was within view-i.e. Weber's Protestant Ethnic, Simmel's Philosophy of Money, and Tönnies's Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft were each "inspired directly by Marx's thought". Demonstrating communal and progressive values, Durkheim argued for a science whose criterion can be demonstrated and generally accepted by everybody, and the observer's statements can be verified by others. The study of society and its elementary parts requires acknowledgement of and an approach to the relationships between wholes and parts. Durkheim, Simmel, and Marx were in agreement on the priority of scientific commitments and values, that individuals and social structures are internally related, that the use of the abstractive method was necessary to handle the relationship between appearance and essence and for the search for sociological laws, that induction is the method to uncover these laws, and that non-metaphysical supra-individual realities exist.

Keywords: classical sociology; Durkheim; Marx; Simmel; social structure



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