Sociology Daily Answer Writing (30-06-2022)

Sociological Thinker - Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber


Model Solutions

1. According to Marx, how are human beings alienated from their human potential and what does he suggest to change this?  

2. What are social facts? Do you think pandemics are social facts?

Model Structure 1.


● Define Alienation

○ A Sense of disconnect from aspects - 4 factors (process, product, self and society), brought about by the conditions of labor present in a capitalist society.

Main Body

● Four Stages of Alienation -

○ From Produce - they sell their labor to produce not for themselves but for the capitalist.

○ From Process - they relinquish control over the means of production, which they clearly do not own.

○ From Self - they are estranged from his ability to create what he desires of his own volition and is thus kept from his human potential.

○ From Society and other labors - conditions of labor present in a capitalist society, meagre interactions with fellow beings.

● Through the above stages humans get alienated from their potential.

● In alienation dead labour i.e. capital dominates the living labour

● Reasons for alienation

○ Repetitive kind of work

○ Economic infrastructure constraints creative potential of human beings

○ Workers are subjected to impersonal mechanisms such as law of supply and demand

● Examples - IT professionals working for longer time without any creative efforts get alienated, Workers in assembly line of Car mfg expected to follow daily routine procedure thus making them cog in a machine, Working at lower wages, Refusal of rights to entitlement to women cashing alienation etc

● Marx's Solution to Alienation (de-alienation)

○ Haves and have nots → Alienation of have nots → objective opposition of interests (CLASS IN ITSELF) → Subjective awareness (CLASS FOR ITSELF)

○ Class polarisation → Revolutionary forces unleashed → Dictatorship of Proletariat → Advanced Communism (egalitarian society with equal control over forces of production) → Alienation Disappears.


● Relevance of theory of Alienation

Model Structure 2.


● Define Social Facts (Ways of feeling, thinking, acting which is constrained, above individual, has life on its own, and diffused throughout society.)

Main Body

● Emile Durkheim doled out the concept of social fact to lay a scientific foundation for the newly developed discipline i.e. Sociology.

● Durkheim considered Social fact is the thing

○ Independent of Individual will

○ External to Individual

○ Constraints individual action

○ Universal/General

● According to him, the task of a sociologist is to study social facts as things as we study things in the natural world.

● 2 types

○ Material

○ Non-material (Note: There is a lot to write about social fact, but as it is 10 maker question with two sub-parts in it, it is advisable to explain important points only- as illustrated above) Pandemic are social fact as well.

● It is sui generis

● It exists outside the individual. (individual cannot control it)

● Has life on its own even an individual cannot influence it.

● Some pandemics are universal as well (E.g. – Covid-19)

● It constraints individual behaviour (eg. Lockdowns, need of sanitization, etc.)

● Durkheim opines that social fact can be explained using cause and function

○ Social facts exists only till it functions properly, since pandemic doesn’t have a function it should cease to exist

You can also take a view that Pandemic are NOT a social fact as-

● Pandemic is concerned with individual subjectivity and emotions- which are ignored in the conception of social fact (Stefan Lukes)

● Social fact is an objective concept which does injustice by ignoring individual human behaviour in the wake of pandemic. (eg. upper class and migrant workers perceived Covid pandemic differently) - Peter Berger

● Pandemic as a social fact can’t explain why some pandemics influence different individuals differently.

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