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SOCIAL THEORY OF INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

UNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND SCHOOL OF HEALTH, NATURAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES SOC201 SOCIAL THEORY OF INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY MODULE LEADER: PETER RUSHTON ASSIGNMENT 1: CRITICAL REVIEW STUDENT: JENNIFER GARTLAND STUDENT ID: 032805136 Extract from, Hall. S and Gieben. B eds (1992), Formations of Modernity, Cambridge, Polity Press/Open University Press, pp. 36-45 Title, Enlightenment as the Pursuit of Modernity. This extract attempts to explain the rise of the Enlightenment beginning from the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. It shows how the beliefs and writings of this time gave rise to a new science the 'science of man' and that 'sociological' concerns are identified in this time (Hall and Gieben 1992, p. 36). The Enlightenment can be described as, 'an eighteenth century philosophical movement based on notions of progress through the application of reason and rationality. Enlightenment philosophers foresaw a world free from religious dogma, under human control and leading ultimately to emancipation fro all human kind' (Bilton et al. 2002, p.25). The extract brings definition and examples to this meaning using positivistic and rationalist approaches, which we see in the social sciences today. The key words in this extract are printed in italics, highlighting their importance within the text. ...read more.

Middle

Although the philosphes wanted to move away from the control of the Church, their morals and values stuck with society and still have influence today, but people have lost their 'certainty in the authority of their religious beliefs' (Bilton et al 2002, p.419). Hall and Gieben (1992) also emphasize the concept of 'progress' in Enlightenment thinking explaining, 'that through the application of reasoned and empirically based knowledge, social institutions could be created that would make men happier and free them from cruelty, injustice and despotism.' (ibid, p.37). The philosophes believed that society could 'progress and change through the application of reason and knowledge' (ibid, p. 39). Knowledge became more widely available, communicated through journals and access to such through libraries. However access to this was greatly restricted through cost and the necessary level of education needed to understand the new concepts (ibid, p.41). This highlights the selectivity of the Enlightenment thought. Feminists today would argue that these traditional beliefs are centred around 'white middle class men' (Bilton et al 2002, p. 528). The extract then goes on to describe the link between the Enlightenment and the development of social science. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hall and Gieben believe that it is the, 'philosophes' passionate interest in other cultures {that) was crucially important to the development of a basic component of social science: cross-cultural comparison' (ibid, p.45). The extract has shown how the Enlightenment pushed for a dramatic shift in social attitudes. It has identified the increase in the availability of knowledge but showed how this was only available to who could afford it and understand it. It pushed for a move away from the authority of the church identifying that people had the capability to think for themselves and could apply their own reason to their daily lives. The extract also recognizes the impact the Enlightenment had on the development of a 'social science' and the ideas are still considered today. What is not made clear in the article is the struggle the philosophes had in instigating change in such a traditionally bound society. Hadden (1999) underlines a movement against the Enlightenment called the 'conservative reaction' that maintained, 'the significance of tradition, authority, community and the sacred in human, collective life' (ibid, p. 23). Hadden also argues that it is both sides of the debate, which 'contributed substantially to the foundation of sociological thought' (ibid). ...read more.

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