The Most Influential And Controversial Sociologists

Karl Marx is considered to be one of the most influential and controversial sociologists of all time. Marx was born in Prussia in the year 1818 to Jewish parents. His father was a successful lawyer, devoted to the struggle for a Prussian constitution. Both his Jewish heritage and father’s occupation contributed to Marx’s standpoint. His Jewish background exposed him to prejudice and discrimination that may have led to a longing for social change. He first studied law like his father, but also decided to partake in philosophy at the University of Berlin. As a young man Marx worked in a newspaper, but after facing suppression and exile he moved on to begin some of the work he is most famous for.

Marx is greatly important to sociology because of his famous theory called historical materialism. This Marxist theory explains that social structures derive from economic structures and that these are transformed as a result of class struggles, each ruling class producing another, which will overcome and destroy it, eventually producing a communist society. In that time, society was divided into a small number of capitalists (the bourgeoisie) and a large number of workers (the proletariat.) This political struggle is what led to the social change in Marx’s theory. Because of all these reasons, Marx is greatly influential and prominent in the world of sociology.

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Another significant person in the field of sociology is Jane Addams. Despite being an activist, philosopher, sociologist, author, suffragist, and “mother of social work,” Addams was marginalized, or treated as insignificant. In this case it was because of her gender. Addams was born in Illinois in 1860 to a large, wealthy family. She then went on to study in Rockford before moving on to Chicago. In Chicago, Addams founded the well-known Hull House, a place used in order to “provide a center for a higher civic and social life; to institute and maintain educational and philanthropic enterprises and to investigate and improve the conditions in the industrial districts of Chicago.” Addams worked with the aged, sick, poor, young, and immigrants. Because of the Hull House, she was able to improve the quality of many lives.

Addams was also a passionate feminist and suffragist. She believed that women should be heard in legislation, especially through votes, and that they should create aspirations and seek out opportunities in order to accomplish them. One of her own aspirations was to end war. Addams set out to accomplish this task through speeches, writing a book, and founding the Women’s International League for Peace. Overall, Jane Addams should be recognized as a largely important figure in sociology because of her feminist aspirations, peace endeavors, and goal to bridge the gap between the powerful and powerless.

There are three major theoretical perspectives in sociology, the first being the conflict theory. Conflict theory was developed by Karl Marx, who was mentioned earlier. The theory suggests that social order is maintained by domination and power, rather than consensus and conformity. In other words, some groups prosper at the expense of others, causing widespread conflict. Common terms used with conflict theory are “bourgeoisie” meaning the class with most of the wealth, and “proletariat,” meaning the lower, working class people. A second theoretical perspective is Functionalism. Functionalism was developed by Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist born in 1858. According to functionalism, society is a system of interconnected parts that work together to maintain a state of social balance. A term frequently used with functionalism is social integration, meaning the degree to which people feel part of a group. The third and final theoretical perspective is called symbolic interactionism. It was developed by a German sociologist named Max Weber, who was born in 1864. Symbolic interactionism explains social behavior in terms of how people interact with each other through symbols; in this view, social structures are best understood in individual interactions. A key concept of this is Verstehen, meaning one is able to understand the meaning of action by looking through that person’s point of view. In conclusion, these are the three major theoretical perspectives of sociology that are widely known.

Works Cited

  1. Conley, Dalton. You May Ask Yourself: An Introduction to Thinking Like a Sociologist. New York City, W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.
  2. Definition of ‘Historical Materialism’.” Take Heed/Pay Heed Definition and Meaning | Collins English Dictionary, www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/historical-materialism.
  3. Feuer, Lewis S., and David T. McLellan. “Karl Marx.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 22 Nov. 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Karl-Marx.
  4. Jane Addams – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2019. Mon. 14 Jan 2019, https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1931/addams/facts/.
  5. Kenton, Will. “Conflict Theory.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 14 Dec. 2018, www.investopedia.com/terms/c/conflict-theory.asp.
  6. “The Big Question: What Inspired Marx?” OpenLearn, The Open University, 1 Dec. 2004, www.open.edu/openlearn/society/politics-policy-people/politics/what-inspired-marx.
  7. “The Nobel Peace Prize 1931.” Nobelprize.org, www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1931/addams/biographical/.

To Deny People Their Human Rights Is To Challenge Their Very Humanity

Even though we are in the twenty-first freedom filled century, the subject of gay rights is still seen as a taboo in our society. One of the arguments involving gay rights is if same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt. While many support gay couples adopting, whether it is because they strongly believe in equality or because they believe that successful parenting is irrelevant to gender, many people do argue against it for many reasons such as religion, culture, and/or they believe that it may negatively affect the way the child is raised. Same-sex couples should be granted the right to adopt since denying them this right is also denying a child the right to a loving family and a home.

Gay marriage was still illegal in some states up until June 26, 2015 when the Supreme Court Ruling made Same-Sex Marriage a right nationwide. Giving LGBTs’ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) the right to a marriage also grants them the right to legally perform activities any married couple is allowed to, such as, adopting. Furthermore, adopting is not only a right to the couple, but to the child as well. There is an infinite waitlist of children hoping to be taken into a stable caring family regardless if their future parents are gay or not; many of these children just dream of leaving a ghastly foster home or orphanage, and there are gay parents who genuinely desire to be parents and love a child who deserves an opportunity of a family.

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In the gay parenting topic, three of the major concerns about same-sex adoption are that: lesbians and gays have a mental illness, gays are less paternal than heterosexual men, and that lesbians are less maternal than heterosexual women. However, there is no factual evidence that proves these concerns correct. Far from it, there are studies that show that just like heterosexual parents, gay parents give their children a supportive household and a healthy lifestyle.

According to the article “Can Same-Sex Couples Adopt?”, there is no remarkable distinction in the development of gender identity between children of gay and lesbian parents and children of heterosexual parents. In regards to the gender roles in the family, homosexual couples are aware of the necessities that come with those roles. They tend to assume certain positions as either the mother or father figure in order to accommodate to the needs of their children.

One valid statement against gay parenting is that the child will have limits in the mother/father figure aspect with same-sex parents; consequently, causing emotional issues in the child. Roberto Oscar Lopez, a professor at California State University, was raised by a lesbian couple and describes growing up with gay parents as something “very difficult”( Pacholczyk, 11) since he didn’t have the traditional “masculine and feminine mechanism” ( Pacholczyk, 11) .

However, this is in the least of cases. In fact, according to a case in the BMC Public Health, out of 500 children, 315 had same-sex parents and same-sex families showed 6% higher in general health and family unity. In emotional and physical performance, there was no difference with the children from the general population. People should not oversee gay adoption as having a negative influence in the emotional state of the child since in most cases, the child ends up in a joyful environment.

Gay adoption should have no limits and should not be prohibited in many adoption centers as it is at the moment. There is no basis to prove that gay parenting is inferior to heterosexual parenting since they both equally provide the child with opportunities to pursue their dreams. Thankfully, as gay adoption rates have increased over the years, society acceptance of same-sex parenting continues to rise as well.Because every couple, same-sex or not, seeking to adopt has the same dream of building a family.

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