Interesting Theory

By: Michaela Wieties

I was a little nervous about taking a theory class because I was afraid I would not entirely understand it. Then I started thinking more about how that might be part of what makes theory interesting. I did not know much about Karl Mark before this class. It seems like everyone knows the name Marx, but most people do not know who he was. Like many other people, I used to associate Marx with Communism, however, I had only heard of Communism in reference to Russian Communism. Marx had ideas of a utopian society that were similar to that of Communism, but the twentieth century Communists took things further than Marx had intended.

Marx’s theory of alienation describes issues with capitalism. He recognizes the gap between employers and their employees. The workers work because of the necessity of subsistence and there is a lack of ownership over production. There is a feeling of alienation between workers and the products they manufactured. I had never really thought about this before. To some degree, I understand this thought process. Like many other people, when I get done at work, I just want to go home and decompress. I just want to forget about work and everything I did at work. This can also add to the sense of alienation. Although I now know a little more about Marx and his theories, I still feel like I do not entirely understand parts of them.

Unlike Marx, Max Weber focused on the individuals than on the nation as whole. A lot of theorists focus on societies as a whole. I like that Weber looks at how individuals develop because of their surroundings. I really enjoyed reading about Weber because he focuses on individuals. I like this because people tend to focus on the big picture. There are so many little details that make up the big picture. Weber separates himself from other theorists, like Marx and Durkheim, which makes him more interesting to me. I can really see how Weber’s theories can be true. I grew up as a Lutheran pastor’s kid. My life probably would not be the way that it is if it were not for my mom being a pastor and going to the church that we do. I am a lot more open minded and accepting of people than I was before we came to this church. My environment has shaped me into what I am. A similar thing can be said for the Nuer people.

The Nuer depend on their cattle for everything. Each person knows that they are a part of a larger community, but they play their own individual role. Their everyday lives are the way that they are because of the world around them. This example is slightly unlike Weber because the Nuer form a type of organic solidarity. They depend on each other for many different things. They are not a mechanical solidarity society because they are connected and interdependent on each other. These types of solidarity were discussed by Durkheim.

4 thoughts on “Interesting Theory

  1. I really like your summary of Marx and how his ideas got taken too far by communist of today’s society. I like how honest your were about being hesitant taking a theory class, so was I but I really enjoy it! I like how honest you were with saying how you viewed Marx as communist. You did a great job tying this post back into class, I think you explained all of the theorists and their theory’s to such a great detail. Keep up the great work, I really enjoy reading your post!

  2. I really enjoyed your post, it made me think about alienating and how I tend to do that also when it comes to leaving work. I enjoyed the way you talked about the other theorists and the Nuer, I didn’t know a lot about Marx either before this class so I understand when you talked about him being a communists. I think you are doing great and this post was really good. Great job on analyzing and comparing the class discussions to every day life things.

  3. It seems to me that maybe we should talk more about Marx in class! One of the key analytical features of Marxist theory is the focus on contradictions. This is an analytical method that can be used in a wide range of settings, even though Marx used that analysis using CLASSES as the unit of analysis (not nations).

    Everyone, think about what that means! Why am I so impressed with analysis of contradictions within a society!

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