Forums Sociology Compare and contrast the views of Max Weber and George Simmel

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    Ayush Nair
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    Compare and contrast the views of Max Weber and George Simmel.

    #16138
    Ayush Nair
    Member

    Answer:

    For Weber sociology is a cultural science, according to him human beings act, behave, and relate to each other with the help of various signs and symbols which carry some meanings. He adopted a middle ground between idealism and positivism. His main aim was not to produce general laws but to understand the meanings of particular events. Weber is a firm believer that sociological study should be objective and could not be value-laden. He asserted that appropriate study of human sciences is verstehen which means understanding. He believed that history is a creation of human beings, who are embodiments of value and in order to explain it, we must put ourselves into a position of the people who created it. According to him in the study of human affairs man is both the subject and object of inquiry, so while studying men in society we understand our subject matter by identifying ourselves with the human actors and imaginatively experiencing their intensions and motives. Social action is the unit of sociological inquiry according to him, so it studies an action which leads to some social consequences. The concept of power is central to Weber’s sociology; he believes that every human interaction is marked by power relationship. his sociology provides an image of a society where authority is a universal element of the social structure.

    George Simmel shared the same historical time as Weber. His theory created an image of society that is three- tiered, where the higher levels emerge from the lower levels. These three levels of society provide three distinct areas of study for sociology. at the basic level, he proposed pure or formal sociology. At this level, psychological components of social life are to be accounted for through microscopic assumptions. Next is the scope for general sociology which is the area for the study of the social and cultural products of human history. and the philosophical sociology which deals with metaphysical aspects of society. He puts much of his attention to the formal level. He asserts that task of sociology is to explicate the forms of interaction of individuals. According to Simmel, the three levels of society are interrelated which highlights a dialectical approach. Following Marx he too believed that society is held together by conflicting groups but his view of future is not as positive as Marx. His image of society was closer to Weber’s view that is one move towards the iron cage.

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