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Trace the development of the idea of Progress in the18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

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Introduction

Mustafa Kayaoglu Trace the development of the idea of Progress in the18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Idea of progress has been one of the issues in the social thought even before the emergence of sociology as a science. Although Hobbes do not have a clear understanding of progress, he realizes the problems of the time. He states "Homo homini lupus,"- men eat men. He sees the state as the force that maintains the order within the society. He does not have the idea of rebellion against the state, but Rousseau finds a solution to the oppressive structure of the state. For Rousseau, individuals voluntarily give up some of their rights and become free in the society. Being free without a society is meaningless for him. Thus society is formed with a social contract by the individuals. Society gives its rights to the state in order to live in an equal environment. Just like they form the society, they also have right to take it away. "Return to nature" is the basic idea of this contractual agreement within the society that gives the right to rebel against the state. Thus for Rousseau society can break down the social order that is constructed by the members of the society and the status quo, and form a new social order for the benefit of the members of that society. ...read more.

Middle

For Marx first stage is the "primitive communism" where there is no division of labor. With the domestication of animals and agriculture division of labor emerged. For him division of labor leads to inequality between the members of the society. Thus class system is the main element through out the history. Slavery, Asiatic mode of production, feudalism, capitalism and communism through socialism are the stages of progress for Marx. Influenced by Hegel class conflict is the necessary element for the progress. However his approach is based on materialistic conceptions. Marx somewhere states that "philosophers have interpreted the world in various ways but the point is to change it" Forces of production and relations of production are the elements of mode of production. Forces of production are technology and the labor force, where as the relations of the production, such as state, religion arts, is the social relations that individuals enter into during the process of production. Marx revolutionary progress provides that forces of production has to be far advanced in order to alter the relation of productions. Thus for Marx idea of progress posits that evolution occurs through revolution. Feudalism led to capitalism by the emergence of merchants in the feudal system. ...read more.

Conclusion

Conformist: Accepts both the means of the society and the values of the society and the structure is available for them. Innovators: Accepts the values but rejects the means to achieve them. Crime is a way to achieve the goals Ritualists: Accepts the means and rejects the goals of the society. Retreats: Rejects both means and the goals of the society, but do not take action. For example, drug addicts and drunkards. Rebellions; Rejects both means and the goals of the society and have their own goals and means. Merton also do not support linear progress for him system may go worse and he is not a holistic. Finally post-modern theorists have totally different approach to sociology and to the progress in the society. Most of the post-modern theorists are pessimistic about the social change. I believe some of their concepts will be enough to understand their view. Brazillianisation of the world, the illusion of the end, brave new world, new world order are some of these concepts. All believe that individuals, societies are will have hard time because of the improvements that occurred in the past. Individualism will increase people have to face with the difficulties by themselves. Capitalism will lead to extinct of the dependent countries. Thus social change is circular here, where as it is like a pendulum for Sorokin who is a contemporary theorist. ...read more.

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