Karl Marx is one of the most influential and misunderstood social theorists in history. His ideas about industrialized society and the conflict of the classes were great observations. They might not hold true as generalizing principals of humanity; however few things do. Humans can be infuriating that way. Nothing seems to fit the generalizations completely. the best we can do is see patterns. Because of the link to the Bolshevik revolution and the soviet union it was considered treasonous in the US to promote the Ideas of Karl Marx. However, his Ideas can bee validated by looking at American society. The Occupy Movement is a class based non violent revolution. The one percent of American people who control the wealth are the bourgeoisie. The revolution may have started with occupy, but some in our society are calling for a more traditional violent revolution. The lead singer and lyric writer for Rage Against the Machine Zack De La Rocha is one of those people. His lyrics are very Marxian. In the song with out a face Zack says “Raped for tha grapes, profit for tha bourgeois”. In another song he talks about walking down rodeo drive in Beverly Hills California with a shot gun. This neighborhood is synonymous with wealth. In the same song he declares his longing for wealth when he states”fuck the G ride I want the machines that are making them”. This is access to the mode of production. which is another Marxian Idea. Maybe the revolution is coming, However the Ideas of Karl Mark are still prevalent, and this has made him one of the most influential social theorists in history.
Stan Lee is considered a legend in the comic book field. He is the creator of most of Marvel Comics iconic characters, and was the main story writer from the company’s inception in 1961 until the early 1990’s. Although he claims to not have any legitimate knowledge of science, He created stories about genetic mutation and gamma radiation which were at least plausible. However, his greatest achievement was humanizing his superhuman characters. Tony Stark aka Iron Man was an alcoholic, Bruce Banner was tortured by the things his alter ego The Hulk did. He is an observer of human behavior, and his stories are depictions of society. This is why I consider him to be a social theorist.
He depicted a chiefdom in a fictional jungle of Africa of Wakanda. The chief of this society is the Black Panther. Of course this society is not typical of other chiefdoms because they control the only mountain in the world that has the elemental metal Vibranium. This is the metal Captain America’s shield is made from. However, their social structure is similar to the kingdoms of Africa. T’challa, the chief of the panther tribe is the eldest male of the most prominent patriline. This gives him responsibility to protect his people, and the rare metal vibranium.
The X-Men are a team of people who have special abilities. Their abilities as well as the abilities of others in their society are because of genetic mutations at a couple of alleles on human DNA strands. These mutations give the humans who have them different abilities. Logan also known as The Wolverine has the ability to regenerate tissue quickly. This ability allowed him to be the recipient of adamantium infused bones and claws. People in the population receive different abilities from the mutation. Through the stories of the X-Men Lee examines the idea of biological determinism, and racism.
Stan lee’s social theory is based on the idea’s industrial nation states use to promote hegemony. Honor selfless sacrifice, heroism, and fairness are idea attributes people aspire to have. However he also tries to explain persistent negative ideologies like racism. He explores ideas like psychic unity and social facts from Durkheim; however, he takes some of Franz Boaz’s approach to racism. He explores the aspects of humanity many social theorists have, and he uses what he learns to write brilliant stories. Most people know Stan Lee from his multitude of cameo appearances in Marvel Comic Movies; However as a Marvel geek I believe he is one of the most influential theorists of modern times.
Emile Durkheim is considered the father of sociology, and maybe why I have such an adverse opinion of sociology. he is a social order theorist, and I believe all systems tend towards chaos. Durkheim collected stats, and found correlations; however he seemed to confuse this with causation. I can not see his idea of social facts as having much validity. Culture actually performs the function of Durkheim’s social facts, but it encompasses much more. I may be a presantist, but Durkheim’s causes of suicide rates are too simplistic to be true. His diametric opposition in his classifications drives me nuts because nothing is ever as simple as this and that. He is responsible for the use of statistics which i still feel do not feel can be used to explain human behavior. I may be wrong but I don’t trust statistical analysis based on what people tell some one, or in Durkheim’s case second-hand data. Although, I don’t consider my self a Marxist i agree in principle much more with Marx. I won’t be using Durkheim as a basis of my analysis of the Nuer.