One of the lenses through which we can try to view social theorists is the rationalist/non-rationalist/individualist/collectivist framework. Explain this framework (what do these words mean)? And use one theorist’s work to provide an example?
A basic theoretical orientation has been adopted by modern theorists in sociology despite the desire to develop multidimensional theories (Edles & Appelrouth, 2010). For example, there is a tendency among individuals of taking life for granted and also making myriads of assumptions.
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A collectivist framework assumes that people are generally driven by certain codes of ethics and behavioral patterns. However, an individualistic approach attempts to explain that individuals behave uniquely based on the situations at hand. A rationalist framework weighs each of the sociological theories presented while a non-rationalist framework does not (Edles & Appelrouth, 2010).
Simmel analyzes various elements of urban life in “The Metropolis and Mental Life.” Cite one negative characteristic and one positive characteristic of city life that he discusses.
Negative characteristic- there is a high sense of individualism in city life. The latter impacts negatively on the state of sovereignty needed in society and leads to a lack of unity (Simmel, 1976).
Positive characteristic-Urban life encourages specialization and division of labor and therefore leads to higher levels of production and uniqueness among individuals (Simmel, 1976).
Why is “The Philadelphia Negro” considered a major contribution to sociology? What does Du Bois see as reasons for the poverty of blacks in the Seventh Ward? Does he place some blame on the black community itself?
The African American people were largely studied in The Philadelphia Negro using detailed data in form of statistics. The use of quantitative data in this social science has largely contributed to the discipline of sociology (Simmel, 1971). To obtain valid information, the author conducted personal interviews. Hence, sociology has gained a lot from this piece of writing for several decades.
The blacks in the Seventh Ward were identified to be living under squalor conditions and abject poverty since they were overpopulated with minimal resources to cater to their needs. In one of his biographies, the author noted that the African American people did not welcome his efforts at all since they did not see the importance of the research study he conducted among them (Gooding-Williams, 2009).
Edles, L.D & Appelrouth, S. (2010). Sociological Theory in the Classical Era: Text and Readings. London: Pine Forge Press.
Simmel, G. (1971). On individuality and social forms. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Gooding-Williams, R. (2009). In the Shadow of Du Bois: Afro-Modern Political Thought in America. New York: President and fellows of Harvard College.