Max Weber was a widely acclaimed philosopher of German descent. He is the brainchild behind the Weberian theory. The work of Max Weber, a prominent sociologist, and political economist, the Weberian theory had a profound effect on social theory research and the discipline of sociology. A classic sociologist, Weber subscribed to Marxist ideas but nevertheless was critical to the viability of the idea of communism formulated by Karl Marx.
The Weberian theory places a lot of emphasis on societal social stratification. According to Max Weber, Class, status and power are the fundamental components of the theory. Class according to Weber is anchored on prestige and honor or even personal achievement. The class was the determinant of life’s chances. A case in point is the feudal era that under traditional forms of authority; chiefdoms, monarchs that bestowed high status upon individuals with material wealth set to follow. The Weberian theory holds the issue of class and social stratification being a modern era phenomenon that has made society t be materialistic. Power complemented by status have aggravated the level of social conflict attributed to class struggles.
The influence of the Weberian theory of contemporary post-modern society is still being felt global. Examining the current modern societal structure key concepts put forth by the Weberian theory are still evident. Social stratification is still materialistic. Materialistic in the sense that it is still based on capital ownership. Weber’s theory more closely resembles theories of modern Western society class structures. Using Weber’s theory of stratification, members in top brass positions of leadership in society are at the top of the social hierarchy. The reason behind their elite status in society being in possession of the high power to control and manage public resources.
1 (b) Durkheim
Emile Durkheim was a prominent sociologist of French descent who was remarkable in his works in the period dating from the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. He was a founding figure in the field of sociology together with the likes of Karl Marx and Max Weber.
Emile Durkheim developed theories of social structures that included fundamental elements such as functionalism and division of labor. Durkheim theories were founded on the significance of human interdependence given the social nature of human beings. According to Durkheim, all elements of society inclusive of morality and religion are derivatives of history. The fundamental proposition of Durkheim’s sociology was the constitution of the subject matter of sociology. His theories on Sociology as a Science of Moral Life and The Division of Labor in Society that ultimately led to him being named as the father of sociology. Politically, Emile Durkheim was a prominent public figure in the French political landscape with political inclinations towards socialist sympathy. Durkheim objective for his theories focused on how it is that society can form and function regarding maintenance of order and stability at all fronts. He is regarded as the creator of the functionalist view in the discipline of sociology focus being on the social fabric that holds society together.
While Durkheim may have failed in many particulars in the course of realizing his principal purpose and objective of redefining human behavior scientifically the fact that his works provide anchorage to modern sociology overrides his failures. His ideas continue to have a profound effect on the social sciences especially in the fields of sociology and anthropology. Example being the emergence of the structuralism school of thought in post-modern world war France, In essence, his works still relevant to the study of sociology.
1(c) Karl Marx
A social scientist, historian, and philosopher, without a doubt, the highest contributor to the social sciences discipline. Karl Marx theories were based on a belief system that was founded on the idea that all historical change was a result of a class conflict.
Karl Marx theory anchored on fundamental communism tenets that were critical of capitalism. Marxist theories outlined a humanist conception that was influenced by dictates of the Ludwig philosophy. The Ludwig philosophy by Ludwig Feuerbach contrasted the natures of capitalism and communism. Karl Marx is credited with the discovery of the law of development of human nature. A discovery informed by the social nature of human beings to develop in cooperative production as brought forth by the Ludwig philosophy. Marxism was against the materialistic social constructs of society by providing the alternative of Communism. Marxism entailed critical analysis of societal class relations and societal class conflicts using a materialistic interpretation of the historical development of human nature through collaborative production.
Karl Marx ideas and theories contribution to our comprehension of the constructs of society has been remarkable .While Marxist theories may have failed in many particulars in the course of realizing the objectives of his theory. The objective of having a societal constructs anchored on communism. Many of his expectations about the future course of the revolutionary movement have so far failed to materialize. However, its failures have been significantly overridden by the fact that his ideas still have profound effects on the global socio- political sphere. His stress on the economic factor in society and his critical analysis of the class structure in class conflict studies. Resulting in remarkable influence in the disciplines of history, sociology and the study of human culture.
The Mahele system was a land redistribution proposed by King Kamehameha III in the 1830s. It is only comparable in importance to the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The land redistribution system was proposed in the 1830s but it was later implemented in the 1840s. Although the formula was intended to secure land titles to Hawaiians but in the real sense it ended up separating them from land ownership. The 1839 Hawaiian Bill of Rights was proposed by King Kamehameha III in collaboration with the chiefs to provide a free enterprise and secure the property rights of the people of Hawaii. The Kingdom passed two legislations that would provide the basis for ownership of land. The Alien Land Ownership Act allowed foreigners to own land. The Kulean Land Act provided commoners with the opportunity to petition for ownership of land from the monarchy.
With the consolidation of land property and the establishment of new entrepreneurial ventures entered the economic picture. The stage was already set for the birth of a new industry. An industry that was the culmination of economic relations with foreign powers.
The Land titles in Hawaii were entirely different from land ownership in New Zealand. It was remarkably similar to the land ownership in Feudal Europe. When the land was conquered by King Kamehameha I, he followed the example of his predecessors and divided the land among his commanders and warriors. The subdivision of land by King Kamehameha I provided the basis for land ownership in the subsequent years. The Mahele system of owning land required those who owned land to pay land tax to the king. Some the progressive and ambitious land reforms introduced by King Kamehameha III proved to be incompatible with the ancient land ownership.
The effect of the forged economic relations and partnerships would then have a profound impact on two important aspects of Hawaiian history. At the center of this situation were the Kapu system, Mana, and the sandalwood trade. Kapu system, mana, and sandalwood trade ensemble the rich Hawaiian history. They were fundamental foundations of Hawaiian history that were adversely affected by the advent of colonialism. The situation was aggravated by failures of the Mahele system of private land ownership. The fact that some claimants failed to claim their Kuleana land allocations due to divergent property ownership beliefs took a toll on the preservation of Hawaiian history.
Owing to the forged economic relations that accompanied native land dispossession and other industrial activities resultant of the same. The overthrow of some vital tenets of Hawaiian history was inevitable. The Overthrow of the Kapu system was a culmination of many causes that were happening since the advent of the foreigners. Central this foreseen otherwise inevitable toppling of the Kapu system was the lack of consequences being meted out to foreigners contravening it. Foreigner’s arguments on the irrelevance of the Kapu system was critical to the breakdown of the Hawaiian belief system. With some of their leaders agreeing with the foreigners that indeed the Kapu system was wrong spelled doom and signalled its abolition. Eventually, the Kapu system, an entire social system of how people should conduct themselves was halted.
The downfall of the Mana system was precipitated by the fact that the advent of colonialism brought along with it chauvinistic dictates that diminished the position of the woman in society. This was unlike the Hawaiian social fabric and belief systems that highly regarded women. The Mahele system of private land ownership partly contributed to the overthrow of the women Mana system. This contribution to the ultimate overthrow of the Mana system is evident from the fact that men were now unlike previously regarded as traditional (Kuleana) land owners. Women and daughters were relegated to only caretaker level under the supervision and administration of men.
Economic ties of the Hawaiian society with western foreign relations whose economic systems were characterized by capitalism threatened the historical Hawaiian sandalwood trade. The epidemics and famine that marked the advent of colonialism to Hawaii led to the ultimate downfall of the Sandalwood trade. The famine that was a result of the neglect of subsistence production in favor of sandalwood trade. To end the famine, the King Kamehameha put sanctions enforceable through the traditional Kapu system. The move by the king, informed by foreigner’s arguments to Kapu sandalwood trade meant to increasingly allow Hawaiian folk concentrate on land cultivation adversely affected it. Ultimately the move to forbid sandalwood trade led to its inevitable downfall.
The Kapu system in Hawaiian social constructs was a belief system that defined a specific code of conduct of men and women in the society. Kapu system as a code of conduct defined man and woman behavior.
Women and Mana system were anchored on the fundamental significance of the woman in social constructs of the Hawaiian societal setting. Mana system highly regarded women as instrumental to one's ascendancy or downfall. Moreover, it outlined the significance of women in respect to leadership and decision making in the kingdom.
Sandalwood trade was fundamentally a system of extraction that was the source of wealth to the Chiefs supervising and administering the trade. The importance of the above socio-economic constructs to Hawaiian history cannot be overridden. Despite efforts to deface Hawaiian history attributed to the advent of colonialism.
Holt, Justin. The Social Thought of Karl Marx. London: SAGE Publication, 2014.
Linnekin, Jocelyn. Sacred Queens and Women of Consequence: Rank, Gender, and Colonialism in the Hawaiian Islands. New York: University of Michigan Press, 2003.
Thompson, Kenneth. Emile Durkheim. New York: Routledge, 2003.