Sociological Theory What Makes Democracy Work Essay

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #11144404

Excerpt from Essay :

Sociological Theory: What Makes Democracy Work?

When it comes to "Classical Sociological Theory" and "Contemporary Sociological Theory" there are numerous sociological theories that try to inspect and interpret why and how society purposes; looking at the influences such as mass media, education, the family and the church. All of these theories have their own ideas as to how these numerous establishments distress how should be and is -- some facets of these theories intersect with each other and other facets are totally different. Theories for instance Functionalism and Marxism attempt to describe civilization as an 'absolute truth' (they each look at culture on a macro scale) they trust that set development of society is unavoidable; there is a construction to life and civilization that seldom permits for change.

According to Tocqueville (pp.104) concerning Classical Sociological Theory, his argument is that throughout time our world has seen a lot of different intelligent and influential individuals that have come up with various theories and thoughts that have formed the world we live in currently. Tocqueville refers to this theory as more of a time of Enlightenment. Tocqueville point in Enlightenment was to be able to make the point that it is man's leaving his self-caused immaturity. He goes on to make the point that immaturity is the inability to use one's intellect deprived of the guidance of somebody else. Such irresponsibility is considered to be self-caused if it is not produced by lack of intellect, but by lack of willpower and bravery to use one's intellect without being directed by another. As the author uses this statement in the reading. "Sapere Aude!" (Have the bravery to utilize your own aptitude!) is consequently the slogan of the enlightenment (Tocqueville 105). In other words it is saying that democracy works with people stepping forward intelligence in supporting the cause.

According to Kant (p.471) Contemporary Sociological Theory, his writing focuses on the public sphere. The author basically writes about how to this extent, the public sphere is basically a: warning system with devices that, though unspecialized, are sensitive all through society. From the viewpoint of democratic theory, the public sphere should, furthermore, intensify the pressure of difficulties, that is to say, not just notice and identify issues but also persuasively and powerfully thermalize them; supply them with likely answers, and' exaggerate them in such a way that they are taken up and dealt with by governmental developments. Moreover the "signal" functions; there must be a real problem. The ability of the public sphere to solve issues on its own is restricted.

Key Concepts and Theoretical Strategy

The theoretical foundation of the argument about the Classical Sociological Theory really puts the emphasis on a society that is more independent based. The author makes the point that we as a society are very lazy. He makes the point that laziness and weakness is a large part of mankind, even after nature has unfettered them from foreign guidance that the country was still in a state of immaturity. The author is referring that even after the U.S. was free from Great Britain they are still not acting independently. He says: "It is because of laziness and cowardice that it is so easy for others to usurp the role of guardians. It is so comfortable to be a minor!" (Kant 471) According to Kant, the theoretical foundation of enlightenment is a man's freedom from "self-incurred tutelage." The argument in Enlightenment was the procedure by which the public could free themselves of intelligent bondage after periods of being dead to the world (Kant 480). After given that a careful examination of the causes why tutelage happened, he suggests the necessities for enlightenment. The authors argument is that he wants the public to think easily, act sensibly and be "treated in harmony with their self-respect" all of which makes democracy work.

In the reading of The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere which is Contemporary Sociological Theory Habermas's theoretical foundation of the argument is the inspection of a kind of publicity that instigated in the eighteenth century, nonetheless still has contemporary relevance. Habermas makes his point by starting by attempting to define what Habermas calls the bourgeois public sphere (Habermass 53). He describes the public sphere as the sphere of private individuals who link together to shape a "public." (Habermass 53) He supports his argument by tracing the history of the division that is among private and public in language and philosophy.

Casual Relationships and Social Mechanisms

In the Classical Sociological Theory argument, Kant does offer a casual argument because Kant brings up the point that tutelage or guidance occurred because of many reasons. The first factor was laziness. He believed that men thought it unwieldy to aim and increase their knowledge. Simple compliance was less burdensome to their humble minds. Kant explains that the second factor, cowardice, is what complemented their laziness. The overall public dreaded to utilize their reason since they were not eager to risk in to uncharted waters. He makes his casual argument that they were afraid to have a few falls in the procedure of learning how to walk. The third factor he argued was the choice few who were cleverer put themselves on top by robbing the overall public of education and knowledge. Therefore, the so called elites supplemented the weakness and dread of the general public by overpowering them and leading them back to the "yoke of the cart to which they were tied" (Kant 469).This was done by displaying the goodness of the current society they were in, and enlarging the hidden and frightening dangers that occurred in unexplored venues of reason. The final factor Kant provides for tutelage is satisfaction and blind obedience. The individuals were self-satisfied in their restraints of centuries old serfdom. Like "domestic cattle" they submitted without troubling to test norm or person to ease their suffering (Kant 469). All of these points to the fact democracy cannot work unless this is handled.

In Civil Society and the Political Public Sphere the author offers casual argument when he explains that economic developments were energetic in the development of the public sphere. Habermas makes his casual argument by emphasizing the function of capitalist styles of manufacture, and of the long-distance trade in news and merchandises in this evolution (Habermass 54). The most significant feature of the public sphere as it existed in the eighteenth century was the public use of reason in sensible-critical discussion. This checked power by the state, or the unlawful use of power. Rational-critical debate happened inside the bourgeois reading public, in reply to literature, and in institutions such as salons and coffee-houses. Habermas sees the public sphere as developing out of the private organization of the family, and from what he calls the "literary public sphere," where debate of art and literature had become likely for the first time. Basically the author believes that a nation has to come together as a group in order for democracy to work.

Internal Validity

The Classical Sociological Theory is concrete because after talking about the explanations why tutelage happened, Kant offers the necessities for enlightenment. The author makes it concrete because he is able to explain the foremost requirement when it comes to democracy is freedom. He trusts that freedom to express one honorably is dominant for enlightenment. This is vital for the reason that when a man is permitted to freely express his opinions and thoughts without punishment, he will provide ideas without restriction and fear (Kant 482). It is concrete because Kant is actually endorsing freedom of speech and the broadmindedness of different perspectives. However he also cautions that the communication of one's views must not stop him from settling his duties to the public (Kant 471). Kant's second point in supporting his argument is that the leaders have to be enlightened first for the community to be enlightened.

Contemporary Sociological Theory is also concrete because Habermas makes the argument that the self-understanding of the public sphere took shape in the idea of "public opinion," which he deliberates in the light of the work of Kant, Hegel, Mill Marx, and Tocqueville. The bourgeois public sphere ultimately eroded because of structural and financial changes. The limitations among state and society blurred, leading to what Habermas calls the refeudalization of society.

External Validity

The Classical Sociological Theory appears to be externally valid because even today in our current society in America, the state and society have become involved in each other's spheres as the author talked about; the private sphere has managed to collapse into itself. Today in our current society, the key facet of the public sphere - rational-serious debate - was substituted by being liberated, and private individuals no longer occurred as a public of asset owners. Habermas argues that the setting of the mass media is powerful and cheap (Habermass 53). He mentions that it endeavors to operate and generate a public where none really exists, and to manufacture agreement.

In Contemporary Sociological Theory the theory…

Cite This Essay:

"Sociological Theory What Makes Democracy Work" (2012, May 31) Retrieved January 21, 2017, from

"Sociological Theory What Makes Democracy Work" 31 May 2012. Web.21 January. 2017. <>

"Sociological Theory What Makes Democracy Work", 31 May 2012, Accessed.21 January. 2017,