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INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY

STUDENT GUIDE

45

By contrasting mechanical solidarity with organic solidarity, Durkheim shows us how both culture and structure are important ingredients for holding society together, thus creating a sound basis for social order.

Marx also shows us the role of both structure and culture. He uses the concept of social control rather than social order. To Marx, social control refers to the various ways the powerful in society attempt to repress the individual, to control and manipulate the individual for the good of the few. To Marx, society is a system of class inequality, allowing the few who own the means of production to coerce and manipulate the many to accept society as it is. Power in the social structure brings control over jobs, government, army, police, courts, and the media, and this, in turn, brings control over the individual. Therefore, Marx begins with social structure in his understanding of order. Order is produced through the power of a few people high in the social structure. They establish order through force, control of jobs, and manipulation.

Marx also deals with culture in his analysis of order. The dominant ideas, values, and morals in society are produced by the powerful. They are meant to control the individual to help ensure “willing” conformity. Culture helps justify and protect the inequality in society, and it serves the powerful who produce it.

Thus, to Marx, social order is created from above. Position brings power; power brings the instruments used to create order so that privilege continues. Power also brings control over culture, including a people’s ideas, values, and rules.

Social Order Depends on Socialization

Socialization refers to the process by which the individual is taught to know the society, and to learn its culture, structure, and institutions, as well as his or her place there. Through socialization, we learn to accept social organization because we are taught that it benefits us, or it is us, or we must accept it to survive. To become socialized is to “become” society, to make it part of us, to internalize it. Each social organization we enter and each we form sets up procedures to make new members learn the patterns and ensure that things work smoothly.

Willingness arises from socialization.

The Five Foundations of Social Order

Social structure places us, makes us interdependent, and encourages control of the many by the few.

Culture makes people similar to one another in the truths, values, goals, and rules they follow.

Social institutions deal with the ongoing problems of society.

Institutions socialize us so that society gets inside us and we become “willing” partners in society.

Institutions encourage us to feel part of organization. Loyalty is encouraged by developing a sense of we, by convincing members that the organization is beneficial, and by establishing boundaries between those within and those

Copyright © 2005 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Adult and Graduate Studies

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