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.