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Social Theory

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Social Theories can be defined as the sets of suppositions and statements, which are organized in order to explain or interpret social occurrences in the society. Social theories are mainly developed to explain human society. According to Baert and Silva, in order to understand the themes of sociological theory, it is necessary to examine its origin (41). Research shows that the founding fathers of sociology are Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim.  Karl Marx who lived from the year 1818 to 1883 is known to be the earliest founding father of social theory. Marx focused on the importance of social class divisions, economic system and philosophy.    According to Marx, working class was vital in the era of industrial revolution. During this period Marx observed that the capitalist society was divided into two parts, namely: the working class and their employers. According to Marx’s social grouping, there was no middle class.

Social theory examine how the different parts of the society fit together. Generally, social theories perceive the society as a scheme of relations that form the structure of the society that people live in. According to structural social theories, the structure of the society shapes people’s lives and their characters. Macro perspectives focus on basic needs and how the different segments of the society work together to meet the basic necessities. On the other hand, Marx’s perspective, which came to be known as Marxism, perceives the society as a unit with an economic base. According to Marx, the society is composed of different social classes which have the possibility of conflicting with each other.  Apart from being the first to coin the term ‘social classes’, Marx is also the first person to propose social action approach which argues that people have the ability to control their own actions.

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