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Approaches Sociology Class Notes

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Approaches Revision Notes: SOCIOLOGY: Class:

1. Historiography:
- Marxism:Marx:
- Theory = 'historical materialism'.
- Based on idea that economic development = a natural process.
- Economy = absolutely central. Those on each side of 'ownership of means of production-labourer' divide = the 2 classes. Talked of "Two great classes directly facing each other: bourgeoisie and proletariat".
- Marxists determined by common vocab, concepts, emphases.
- 'Productive forces' = instruments of prod, human labour power, sci/tech knowledge.
- 'Relations of prod' = relationships between these forces.
- Relations of prod determine people's access to prod forces (i.e. work) and the products of the labour process (i.e. wages/products).
- 'Mode of prod' = specific set of relations of prod (e.g. capitalism, feudalism). Consist of ancient, Asiatic, feudal, capitalist.
- Since relations of prod = exploitative, conflict is inevitable.
- New productive forces ? relations of prod lagging behind prod forces, limiting them. For prod forces to continue to develop, new relats of prod established. Social rev accompanies.
- Said that "Modern bourgeois society... is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world".
- Society consists of 'economic base' and legal, political
& ideological 'superstructure'.1947: est Communist Party Historians Group (Thompson, Hobsbawm, Hill all members, 1956 - Thompson and Hill left).Ideas flourished after 1918 due to change in political climate:
- E.g. Germany (rise of sociology), France (founding of Annales d'histoire economique et sociale [1929]), England (Economic History Review [1926-7]).E P Thompson:
- Described conflict of industrial rev.


- V sensitive to importance of culture in determining class.
- Central theme of TMOTEWC (1963) = emergence of working class 1780-1832, aware of political oppression. Hobsbawm:
- Linked ind rev to birth of labour aristocracy.
- LA = highest section of WC. Emerged 1840-90. Used to explain why Marx's socialist prediction did not come true in Vict LDN - WC went "from a restless and insurgent beast into a placid and predictable carthorse" (H F Moorhouse).
- V distinct from WC. E.g. craft unions est to maintain.
- 6 conditions for being LA:
- Social security.
- Conditions of work
- Relations w/ social strata above and below.
- Living conditions
- Prospects of advancement.
- Level and reg of earnings (most imp).
- Has been widely criticised, e.g. by Henry Pelling - uses Booth and Rowntree's turn-of-century surveys to show that there was a wide span of WC living in relative comfort. Christopher Hill:
- ECW of 1640s = main focus.
- Classes developed when groups identified common aims and enemies.
- Argued ECW = turning pt in formation of capitalism: "The Civil War was a class war".
- 1641-1660: censorship lifted, printing ^ ideas in circulation.
- Said, "we must widen our view so as to embrace the total activity of society". John Foster:
- Develops Hobsbawm's ideas about the LA.
- Stresses authority rather than wages - aligns basically with development of bourgeoisie.
- Came from developments e.g. in engineering. Frank Walbank:
- Failure of productive forces to develop = to blame for decline of Roman Empire (key Marxist e.g.). Robert Brenner:
- Productive forces had no inherent tendency to develop under feudalism.
- Landlords boosted own profits not by raising productivity but rents etc.: failure inevitable.

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