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Social Change and the Future: Modernity and Post-Modernity

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Concerning the social change and the future, this IP explores views social change and its impact on individuals, social institutions, the world of work, and society.

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What were the main concerns of Tonnies, Marx, Durkheim, and Weber on the future?
What is modernity? What is Postmodernity? What difference does it make for the individual and society if we're moving into the "postmodern age"?
What proposals have been offered, or are being offered, to make the transition from modern to postmodern society less stressful on individuals, families, and the workplace?

Identify the predominant social institutions and their functions.
Examine social behavior and its influences.

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Solution Summary

By addressing the questions, this solution discusses the social change and the future, exploring views of social change (e.g.Tonnies, Marx, Durkheim, Weber) and its impact on individuals, social institutions, the world of work, and society.

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This needs to be 1-2 pages.

1. What were the main concerns of Tonnies, Marx, Durkheim, and Weber on the future?

a. Ferdinand Tönnies - The Loss of Community

Ferdinand Tönnies focused on the process of modernization and his reaction to the impersonalization of the world. He did not see modern society as "worse" than pre-industrial society, but he was critical of growing individualism. This was his main concern for the future the loss of community and the growing individualism. His concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are discussed in some detail. The strength of Tönnies theory lies in its synthesis of various dimensions of change. However, Tönnies did not clarify cause and effect relationships among the variables he studied. He also has been criticized for favoring and romanticizing traditional societies.

b. Emile Durkheim - The Division of Labor

Central to Emile Durkheim's analysis of modernity is his view of the increasing division of labor, or specialized economic activity in society. Durkheim did not see modernization as the loss of community, but rather as a change in the basis of community from mechanical solidarity to organic solidarity. Durkheim was more optimistic then Tönnies about the effects of modernity, yet he still feared anomie, or a condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals, which was Durkheim's main concern for the future. Tönnies thought the increasing internal diversity of society would result in anomie.

c. Max Weber - Rationalization

Max Weber argued that ideas and beliefs are what cause social change. For him, modernity meant increased rationality and a corresponding decline in tradition, which were concerns for the future. Compared to Tönnies and Durkheim, however, Weber was pessimistic and critical about the effects of modernity. One of his main concern was that rationalization would erode the human spirit. A question asked by his critics concerns whether it is bureaucracy that causes alienation or just social inequality.

d. Karl Marx - Capitalism

Karl Marx focused on social conflict and saw the Industrial Revolution as primarily a capitalist revolution. He agreed with Tönnies's analysis of the changing nature of community. He was ...

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