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Capitalism, Sociological Perspective, And The Rationalization Theory (Coursework Sample)


part 1 focused on the rationalization theory while part 2 dealt with hegemony. the client requested a SEPARATE set of references after each question.

SOCIOLOGY Student’s Name Course Professor’s Name University City (State) Date Question 1 From a sociological perspective, rationalization involves the substitution of institutions that rely on emotions, values, and traditions with structures founded on reason. Max Weber is one of the theorists associated with this ideology. He asserts that in the modern society, rationalization embeds the principles of dehumanization, calculability, efficiency, and predictability. In this context, dehumanization is the use of technology to control individuals’ behaviors. At the same time, calculability and predictability involve numerical data and the urge to understand the future respectively. Efficiency is another primary pillar of rationalization in the modern society. It focuses on maximizing the desired outcomes with minimal input (Mitzman 2017). There are four forms of rationality: theoretical, substantive, practical, and formal. Theoretical rationality entails comprehending the society via abstract ideologies, while practical rationality is the systematic process employed to determine the most efficient and concrete approach of obtaining the desired results. In contrast, substantive rationality emphasizes the need to utilize one’s collective values to make tangible decisions on the apt means to a pleasant outcome. This concept is dissimilar to formal rationality, which involves using universal rules and values to make effective choices (Mitzman 2017). The latter form of rationality is common in most social settings. In his discussion on “sociology of knowledge”, Weber indicates that rationalization resulted from technological advancements and scientific studies in the developed nations. Using reason to determine the acceptability of certain behaviors suppressed the influence of traditions on the society and prompted new practices. People’s habits were no longer founded on their customs and values but rather on practicability (Whistmer & Lash 2014). In addition to facilitating the establishment of bureaucracies, rationalization was crucial in the advancement of capitalism. In an attempt to expound on the concept of rationalization within the context of modernization and globalization, Weber compares it to an “iron cage” that progressively dominates all the major segments of a society. He discusses this ideology in The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. In this text, the theorist presents compelling details on how the work ethics and notion embedded in Protestantism fostered capitalism. Even after the reduction of this religious force in the social setting, capitalism as well as the related social structures and bureaucratic principles remained intact (Parsons & Weber 2010). Subsequently, bureaucracy and the integrated beliefs influenced social life. Indeed, Weber compares this phenomenon to an iron cage. He states, “In Baxter’s view the care for external goods should only lie on the shoulders of the ‘saint like a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any moment’. But fate decreed that the cloak should become an iron cage” (Parsons & Weber 2010, p. 181). Weber uses this phrase to assert that the economic and technological connections that resulted from capitalism developed into powerful societal forces. Accordingly, individuals who live in such a community have no choice but to embrace the philosophies encompassed in the social structure. These norms include the hierarchical system and division of labor. These components influence individuals’ social lives so much that one cannot imagine an alternative setting (Douglass 2018). With reference to the iron cage metaphor coined by Weber, such people live in a social prison that requires them to execute the socioeconomic ideologies associated with capitalism. Notably, various sociologists concur with Weber’s theory of an iron cage. The reason is that the relation of this notion to the techno-rational ideas and practices associated with capitalism are still relevant in the modern society. Climate change is one of the global issues that highlight the impact of the iron cage as a product of capitalism. Most of the practices that result in environmental degradation are driven by financial gains. These economic forces influence the behaviors, values, and norms promoted in a society. Subsequently, the masses normalize detrimental acts such as deforestation and carbon emissions. For the involved parties to deal with these ecological threats efficiently, sociologists indicate that it is important to suppress the iron cage forces that have been influencing the socioeconomic, political, and technological structures in the modern community (Beck 2000). Besides, it will be helpful to use Weber’s ideology of the iron cage to convince the public that the embedded social structure largely benefits the elites while pushing them further into poverty. Weber also notes that bureaucracy is one of the primary establishments in the modern and developed society. Indeed, such organizations are proof of the efficiency of formal rationality in shaping the societal ideologies. For example, rationality facilitates the development of a bureaucratic structure that promotes the hierarchical system. In such a setting, some individuals occupy influential positions that allow them to control the society’s mores and practices (Douglass 2018). Furthermore, career is a crucial component of bureaucracy. The integrated professionals expect to acquire salaried occupations. At the same time, the organization needs to promote the absorbed specialists. The promotion process focuses on one’s technical qualifications and not on friendship. In line with the claims made by this philosopher, bureaucracies are capable of suppressing human freedom (Mitzman 2017). Although he acknowledges the predictability and efficiency of such organizations, he is of the opinion that they may immensely control the society’s values, practices, and norms. References Beck, U 2000. ‘The world horizon opens up: On the sociology of globalization,’ in What is globalization, Cambridge: Polity. Douglass, R 2018. The iron cage revisited: Max Weber in the neoliberal era, New York: Routledge. Mitzman, A 2017. The iron cage: a historical interpretation of Max Weber, Oxon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. Parsons, T & Weber, M 2010. The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism, Lexington: CreateSpace. Whistmer, S & Lash, S 2014. Max Weber, rationality, and modernity, Hoboken: Routledge, Taylor and Francis. Question 2 Hegemony focuses on how a social group dominates another by using legitimate ideas and norms. Antonio Gramsci introduced the notion of cultural hegemony to describe how the ruling class maintains their socioeconomic power over various societal institutions by using effective philosophies instead of coercion (Gramsci 1971). This approach enables them to influence the expectations, norms, ideals, behaviors, and perceptions of their subjects. The efficiency of this theory requires obtaining the masses’ consent to obey the formal laws and social norms. It entails presenting the ideologies of the elites, as well as the related economic and social structures, as valid entities meant to benefit the entire community. However, in some instances, such rules and standards are only beneficial to the affluent individuals (Willis 1977). Unlike leaders who use autocracy to govern their communities, rulers who embrace the philosophy of hegemony maintain their power by using ideologies that appeal to the civilians. Gramsci’s theory originates from Karl Marx’s notion that the principles that define a particular society reflect the interests and beliefs of the elites. Law, religion, family, education, politics, and media are some of the primary structures used by the ruling class to persuade the masses to concur with their perceptions, assumptions, and values (Brown & Land 2005). This approach is based on the fact that these institutions play a crucial role in warming up the public to the ideas, norms, and beliefs of the society’s dominant group. Accordingly, controlling the structures and systems that preserve the social order is an efficient strategy used by the elites to govern the community (Laclau & Mouffe 2014). For example, the ruling class has used language as a component of education that enables them to control the civilians’ norms. In the modern society, most African countries have embraced English and other languages used in the developed world as the acceptable mode of communication in formal settings. The manifestation of cultural hegemony reaches an optimal level when the civilians believe that the social and economic systems promoted by the ruling class are natural and unavoidable as opposed to viewing them as structures formulated to fulfill the personal interests of the society’s influ...
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