Sociological concepts. Enlightenment / social change, Progress / stages of history, Rationalisation / bureaucracy,Organic solidarity / meritocracy.

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To tackle the four sections of this essay, I will firstly give an introduction for each pair of concepts that deals with the origins of the concepts, then move forward to giving a clear definition of each concepts and the nature of their relationship and finally exploring into the problems occurring from the relationship through using a planned content section which deals specifically with the relationship between the concepts and a concluding section that discusses the importance of the concepts.

1.        Enlightenment / social change


In the case where some people consider that the idea of enlightenment is just a sham as to them it’s nothing more than just an excuse for the machinations of cultural experts and public servants of all sorts. While others imply that the idea of enlightenment is our only hope in an age of violence, exploitation and despair as to these groups of people, to criticize enlightenment is to submit willingly to immorality. For example; according to the Thomas Osborne’s book, theorists like Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer agued that ‘‘enlightenment had been inverted and reason had become the tool of the domination of nature.’’ Whereas other theorists such as Karl Marx and Max Weber who outlined that ‘‘enlightenment is the force that had led to the nightmares of fascism and the totally administered world.’’ Here, Max and Webber are trying to argue against Adorno and Horkheimer that enlightenment has not been upturned as it is itself the cause of the domination of nature. On the other hand, feminism has criticized enlightenment as presenting a view of reality which would be seen as biased by a cynical person. According to the Dictionary of Sociology and related sciences, the origin of Social change is portrayed as ‘’regressive or progressive, planned or unplanned, temporary or permanent and or beneficial or harmful.’’


The idea of enlightenment can be described as the freedom to use one’s own intellect. It is the freedom of thought and expression, the criticism of religion, the value of reason and science, a commitment to social progress and the significance of individualism. Social change usually refers to any change in the ideas, norms, values, social roles and social habits of the people or in the composition or organization of their society. However, the exact classification depends on how the word social is defined because if social and cultural are identical then social change would be cultural change. Enlightenment brings about social change. It is the medium through which people recognise and implement change therefore social change is a result of adaptation that results from social enlightenment.

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Whether we think of ourselves as being for or against enlightenment, what is certain is that the space of concerns that such a concept allocates itself a key point of direction for all those concerned with the status of the information that they already possess or intend to gain. Since enlightenment has been criticized as a movement which was intolerant of individual differences and cultural variation. In the Dictionary of Sociology, Feminism has criticized enlightenment as introducing a view of reality.

Thomas Osborne, Aspects of enlightenment, Available at:

 Assessed on: 10- March- 2009


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