Marx's and Durkheim's theories of society the different ways in which they explain social change; the similarities and differences.
Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) are still today regarded as important theorists in sociological analysis of the society. In this paper we will be looking at these two theorists particularly their views on society. Basically, on how they theorized the relationship between the society and human beings and between human beings themselves. Thus, it is their perspectives on the changes and social transformation of society from one phase to another that is important to note. It is therefore, also essential to look at what influences their theories of social change in the society. Marx's historical materialist and Durkheim's functionalist theoretical analysis of society, therefore, have their similarities and differences which resulted in the different directions they took in providing explanations of social change.
Looking at the period in which Marx and Durkheim were developing their theories of society, it is important to note that the influence of science, scientific analysis of society and philosophy were prevalent. As such it shows in their works based on social change. Furthermore, during this time Europe was in state of revolutions ; political, economic and social changes, which also influenced Marx and Durkheim in their writings. Particularly of great importance were the Industrial Revolution [18th-19th century] and The French Revolution [1789-1799]. It is from such a social background that their theories derive their fundamentals.
Now, let us look at the influence of science [biological] in Marx's and Durkheim's theories. With regards to Durkheim he used 'biological metaphors' and analogies (Plange, 1996: 56) to resemble social changes. This is evident in his evolutionistic -social Darwinism or social evolution- view that society as a social organism which is...