Midterm Sociology Batin

Midterm Sociology Batin

Essay 4

Karl Marx’s theory of human nature portends that human beings are naturally productive, social beings who get fulfillment and sense in their lives through the free exercise of their inherent abilities. They fulfill themselves through their creations so that what they produce is an expression of what they are (Anh, 1). He further posits that happiness is the integration of creation and enjoyment and that to create happiness by labor is the highest happiness. Additionally, he argues that labor is an essential channel to realize happiness. Moreover, he contends that true happiness can only be attained through hard work and sweat, so unhappiness is produced and created without enjoyment. In the end, one does not find fulfillment and meaning in life as an associable free being.

On the other hand, Weber’s emphasis on religion on protestant ethics and values of hard work, thrift, efficiency, and orderliness contribute to economic success. Weber’s views are contrary to the ideas of Karl Marx, which sees religion as societal ill that the capitalists use to perpetuate inequality in society. Whereas Karl Marx viewed religion as an instrument for perpetuating inequality, Weber viewed religion as an entering wedge for capitalism based on headwork, orderliness, and efficiency based on moral values(Mills. 3,4). The purpose of the essay seeks to discuss Marx’s explanation of unhappiness as less convincing than weber’s emphasis on religion.

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A Critique on Karl Marx and Max Weber Arguments

I find Max Weber’s emphasis on religion more convincing than the arguments posited by Karl Marx on unhappiness. In essence, Max Weber’s life and ideas were primarily and significantly affected by his Christian faith tradition and worldview (Adamski et al. 8). As a protestant believer, Weber portends purportedly protestant morals of hard work, thrift, efficiency, and orderliness donated to the economic success of protestant groups in the early stages of European capitalism. According to Weber, religion is not the making of capitalism but the creator of capitalism through the instruments of values of hard work, efficiency, thrift, and orderliness. Viewed under his theoretical lens of bureaucracy, religion is a systematic form of organization designed to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the life of a holistic human being-social, economic or spiritual (Adamski et al .8).

Similarly, Karl Marx’s arguments and world views were essentially influenced by his atheistic beliefs and traditions, so that his arguments of unhappiness in the light of religion become porous and do not have any concomitant to true unhappiness or otherwise true happiness. Karl Marx does seem to make sense to atheists’ fellow. To him, religion is the opium of the people, the sigh of the oppressed creature and the heart of the insensitive, and the soul of our soulless conditions. He views religion as an instrument applied by the capitalist to perpetuate inequality. Besides, religion only operates to calm uncertainty over human beings’ role in the universe and society and maintain the status quo(Adamski. 8).

The view is not convincing since all men, both atheists and believers in God, are created free beings with the will to make choices. So that happiness or unhappiness is the making of the choices we make. In the lens of Max Weber, religion is the source of true happiness. Happiness is based on values or morals that aid one to be a hard worker, efficient, thrift, and orderly. So that one produces to satisfy the needs of others and their needs, and thus gain in the course of production and creation to meet the needs of others (Mills .3, 4).

Karl Marx argues that people define themselves in what they do or make. Further, he adds that when economic structure separates people from what they make or fosters individuals to perceive themselves as people rather than as essentially social beings, that structure or system is responsible for human alienation. The argument is not convincing: first, Marx does not define the people who describe themselves (Anh, 1). His view advocates specialization based on atheistic tradition. Secondly, systems are a creation of ‘man,’ Marx included. So that if systems alienate, it is because man is a free being who finds fulfillment in creation and enjoyment in the systems of his making and creation that ‘alienates’-unhappiness. Further, Marx portends that religion, an instrument of capitalism to perpetuate inequality, encourages individuals to think of themselves first as individuals and only second as members of a group. Further, they are encouraged to believe that labor is merely exchanged for other goods or services (Anh,1).

The views are not correct; as true religion seeks for the good of others first. The bible says that God loved us first, and He gave us his son to die for us. Religion teaches that we should love others as ourselves and count others better than us. Therefore, in the light of Marx’s arguments, it only holds to one having alienated himself from God and taken refuge on the fading shade of human self-justification and laying upon self-unhappiness created and produced by selfishness.

The unhappiness due to having little pride in what one does, do not emanate only in not owning the products of one’s labor. The element of having satisfaction or happiness is the creation and production of self. One has to choose to be happy or not be. And each one is a capitalist in his own right and in one way or the other (Gilal, et al. , 2). Thus, Marx’s argument becomes porous and cannot hold water to convince one that religion contributes to unhappiness and hence needs to be abolished.

I find Weber’s emphasis on religion more convincing in that it purports that capitalism is a creation and a production of religion. Through religion, people are trained to be satisfied and contented with their lot-happy in what they do and who they are. The element of unhappiness is a choice one makes relative to what one does. So that one becomes alienated from the products of their labor, they do not feel connected to what they have earned through their own choice of free will; thus, they choose not to care about or take pride in the products of their doing, resulting in unhappiness.

The arguments of Karl Marx on unhappiness do not convince as does Weber’s emphasis on religion. Marx views happiness as the unity of creation and enjoyment; also, to create happiness by labor is the highest happiness, and labor is a meaningful way to realize happiness. So that all said and done, happiness or unhappiness is the making of the choices we make. In the lens of Max Weber, religion is the source of true happiness. Happiness is based on values or morals that aid one to be a hard worker, efficient, thrift, and orderly.  In addition, Weber takes the stance that religion makes capitalism where efficiency, thrift, and hard work culminate to the enjoyment of creation and production of goods and services, resulting from gaining based on moral values. The two theorists are generally guided by two different schools of thoughts, beliefs, and world views. It is more convincing that religion encourages capitalism, labor, craftsmanship, skillfulness-efficiency, and satisfaction as opposed to the argument of Marx on unhappiness.

Works Cited

Adamski, Lucie. Finite Man in an Infinite World: Unrecognized for Political Theory from Max Weber. The Catholic University of America, 2021.

  1. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination (New York: Grove Press, 1959), pp. 3-4

Gilal, Faheem Gul, et al. “Integrating intrinsic motivation into the relationship between product design and brand attachment: A cross-cultural investigation based on self-determination theory.” European Journal of International Management 14.1 (2020): 1-27. https://doi.org/10.1504/EJIM.2019.10018089

Quoc, Nguyen Anh. “Karl Marx’s theory of human nature.” European Journal of Social Sciences Studies (2019). https://zenodo.org/badge/DOI/10.5281/zenodo.3405486.svg

Essay Question 1

Recent happenings, especially in the United States, have catalyzed the need for all scholars to begin paying keen attention to and discovering ways to dialogue about racism (Phelan, Sean M., et al). Racism is a global social scale of supremacy and subjection along the line of the human both politically, culturally, and economically, and produced and reproduced by the institutions of the capitalist patriarchal western-centric, modern religious-centric societies colonial world-system. While racism is a social evil, it is exacerbated by a capitalistic culture of the western religio-centric world and creates unhappiness in the lives of those affected. The purpose of the essay seeks to underscore the personal experience of racism and the social determinants of the unhappiness people in that situation have, and what practical measures could be taken to deal with them (Mills, 4)

Personal Experience of Racism

Racism is a global phenomenon that affects daily lives in their communities, workplaces, learning institutions. Grosfoguel posits racism as a worldwide social scale of supremacy and insubordination accompanying human life produced and constructed socially, economically, and politically. Conceived as a hierarchy of superiority or inferiority along the lines of the human, racism can be constructed through various racial markers based on color, ethnicity, language, culture, or religion (Macedo et al. 12).The magnitude to which racism has permeated our society is wrought out in the article featured in the Washington Post, September 6, 2018, evidencing the deep-rootedness and rottenness of systemic racism. The article alludes to systemic racism means systems and institutions that produce racially disparate outcomes, regardless of the people’s intentions. (Washington Post 1)

In the United States, Police Profiling and shooting are prevalent. Besides, a huge chunk of black and Latino people has been pulled over, stopped on the street, and generally harassed even though they have done nothing wrong. In addition, a study published by the National Academy of Sciences based on police-shooting databases found that black men were more likely than white men to be killed by police and that black men have a higher chance of dying at the hands of police than whites. Further, residential segregation, disparities in access to quality education, and disparities in incarceration rates are but a few forms of structural racist behaviors that make individuals unhappy (Johnson et al. 1).

In addition to the preceding systemic racist discrimination, individuals discriminated against may have high physical or emotional health problems creating unhappiness. Research suggests that repeated experiences of discrimination may cause one to be physically sensitive in a stressful or potentially stressful social environment. Similarly, repeated discrimination can be a chronic stressor and extrapolate vulnerability to physical illness that may wear and tear on the human system(Mills 3).

Individuals are treated with less courtesy or respect than other people. Others receive poorer service than others at restaurants or stores or are threatened or harassed. Furthermore, some individuals end up being unfairly dismissed from a job, unfairly prevented from moving into a neighborhood, or being unfairly denied a bank loan because they are not of the same race (Macedo et al. 8)

Practical Measures to Deal with Effects Racism

Racism has been the subject of an elaborate conversation and research in social science. Much can still be researched through such disciplines as sociology, political science, anthropology, and psychology studies to help comprehend more of racism and its impacts socially. The most robust tool that can be applied to mitigate racism is education (Ivory, 3). Through education, the masses can be enlightened on the pertinent issues relative to the effects of racism. Education can be an instrument of changing people’s perceptions and instilling societal values in the populace to mitigate social ills accruing due to the impact of racism (Ivory, 1). Discrimination at workplaces denies opportunities for individuals and robs societies of what those people can and could contribute. Eliminating discrimination starts with dismantling barriers and ensuring equality in access to training, education, and the ability to own and use resources. The specific method of research that could be applied in realizing desirable results is the qualitative research method: a social survey (Ivory, 1).

The social survey systematically gathers facts about people living in a specific geographic, cultural or administrative area. Moreover, social surveys usually deal with many related aspects of a social problem. Thus it is a better instrument in researching the impact of racism. In addition, People affected by racism can create spaces to investigate and dismantle oppressive structures, especially cross-racial hostility. Further, they can challenge or use the legal systems to address their grievances and support each other to take and develop leaderships that do not discriminate against them (Ivory, 3). Moreover, the legal system and the authorities need to build a comprehensive anti-discrimination Policy and social standards for institutions. The policies can then be distributed to all employees and employers alike. Similarly, the authorities can establish a user-friendly complaint procedure used by those affected (Ivory, 3). Further, the complaints must be investigated thoroughly and prosecuted. More important is the need to protect complainants from retaliation.

Teaching children kindness and how to talk about differences is critical, and learning to celebrate other cultures. Moreover, employees can diversify their hiring criteria and recruiting process. They can hire people based on their strengths and unique perspectives. Similarly, they can highlight team members’ accomplishments and celebrations. Further, the effects and impacts can be neutralized by hoisting cultural events and activities (Ivory, 3).There is need for a tectonic paradigm shift in an anti-racist perspectives and discourses in our institutions, education, research and practice.

Racism has been the theme of robust discourse and research in social science. At the core, racism is an ideology of racial domination where one’s culture is superior to one or more racial classes used to justify or prescribe the inferior treatment or social position(s) of other racial groups. Racism is uncouth, uncultured, cruel, and a barbaric practice that ought not to find a place in any system or cultured person. Education can be a better instrument of changing people’s perceptions and instilling societal values to mitigate social ills accruing due to the effects of racism.


Works Cited

  1. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination (New York: Grove Press, 1959), pp. 3-4


Johnson, James, and Len Lecci. “How caring is “nullified”: Strong racial identity eliminates White participant empathy effects when police shoot an unarmed Black male.” Psychology of violence 10.1 (2020): 58. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/vio0000228

Macedo, David M., et al. “Effects of racism on the socio-emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal Australian children.” International journal for equity in health 18.1 (2019): 1-10.https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-019-1036-9

Toldson, Ivory A. “Transdisciplinary Convergence to Accelerate Strategies to Mitigate Institutional Racism in Criminal Justice, Education, and Health Systems (Editor’s Commentary).” The Journal of Negro Education 89.1 (2020): 1-7.

Williams, D.T. A Call to Focus on Racial Domination and Oppression: A Response to “Racial and Ethnic Inequality in Poverty and Affluence, 1959–2015″. Popul Res Policy Rev38, 655–663 (2019). DOI. 10.1007/s11113-019-09538-x


Midterm instructions

Below you will find eight questions. They constitute your mid-term evaluation. You are being asked to complete two short 1000-1250-word essays – you may choose any two of the eight questions.

The essays assume that you have read the pertinent chapters the “free textbook” (notably 1-4 and 7-11). The specific questions, however, are taken from the ebook, Soft Science, which you should have acquired by now. The “textbooks” contain background information that may assist you to formulate your answers. Most of what you put into them, however, will depend on how well you think about the issues raised in the questions themselves.

Each question is intended to encourage you to think seriously about a topic and to present an answer which reflects your own thoughtful and informed view on the matter. Each question can be answered in what is known as a standard “five paragraph essay” format if that is your preference (though it certainly isn’t mine. That kind of stricture is not a requirement and you are at liberty to experiment as you see fit.

Anyway, you should present your opinion in a logical, concise, coherent fashion, but more than that—I would like you to offer an opinion that expresses your own perspective because it matters to you—as a person, as an aspirant contributor to society, and as a responsible human being in the world as it is.

Please take care to write competently—spelling and grammar will not result in automatic deductions from your grade, but they will detract from the overall impression you make. It would be a good idea to start by reading or re-reading any relevant parts of the textbook(s), but to focus on the identified portions of the ebook, to write a brief outline of what you intend to say, and then to complete a draft for your own use rather quickly. Then, set your work aside for a few days, re-read it and decide whether to submit it as is, or to make changes—even if you decide it needs a complete revision.

the assigned readings, to rephrase them, and to put them in some sort of order. I want you to think for yourselves and to express yourselves as convincingly as possible. Remember also that there are no right or wrong answers—but there are more or less persuasive arguments to be made for or against the ideas presented.

Above all, calm yourselves … this exercise should not terrorize you, but liberate you to think critically and independently—which is, after all, what a college education is meant to be about. Whether it is obvious to you now or not, both the questions that follow and, even more, the practice of thinking about them are important to your future insofar as you may hope to be a conscious and conscientious agent in making that future better for yourselves and others.

I will leave it to you to decide how to answer the questions, but I will be happy to answer any questions about  the questions … but only after your have tried your best to work them out for yourselves.


Let’s start.

And remember also to choose only two (bit two different) from the following list and write one short essay on each of your choices.

  1. Read the opening section on “the sociological imagination,” consult the pertinent parts of the “standard” textbook(s) you have been given, and explain how you would translate the personal experience of one of the following: poverty, racism, or misogyny into a social problem that could be solved to your benefit. What are the social determinants of the unhappiness people in that situation have and what practical measures could be taken to deal with them?
  2. Read the section called “Education” in the ebook. Think about what it would mean to be a teacher in an Ontario college today. Then, with the examples provided in mind, explain whether the task of education is to train young people to be efficient consumers and compliant citizens in contemporary society and, if so, whether any of the teachers whose ideas are presented here in fact or in fiction would be able to fulfill those tasks to the satisfaction of either their students or the authorities whose responsibility it is to manage the schools.
  3. When we listen to people discussing major social, economic, and political issues today, they are often expressing a particular view of “human nature.” Read the section on “Human Nature” and in particular the accounts of encounters with aboriginal peoples presented by Melville and Mowat. Then briefly describe and explain whether aspects of their cultures could realistically be adopted and adapted to the benefit of contemporary society.
  4. Read the section “Comments” on capitalism and reflect on the importance of religion and technology in terms of the ways in which modern society organizes itself and the production and distribution of goods and services. Then, write discuss whether you think that Marx’s explanation of human unhappiness is more or less convincing than either Weber’s (which emphasizes “religion”) or Kroker’s (which emphasizes “technology.”
  5. Setting aside your own religious beliefs (if any) consider the treatment of religion in either or both of the standard texts and then discuss whether or not you think that either Safire and Dershowitz (with regard to The Book of Jobor Thiering (with regard to the Christian “gospels”) present a credible account of the “stories” that are told. Both tie the content of the narratives to stages in human cultural development and make the case that religious belief is a reflection of cultural evolution. Are these narrative persuasive as explanations for why the stories have been so widely and so long believed?
  6. Read Part 9 on reproduction, sex, and gender as well as its counterparts in the texts, and construct an argument for or against the proposition that sexual morality, the structure of the “traditional family,” etc. were necessary limitations on human sexual activity as long as economic scarcity required that people attend to winning the necessities of life in order to survive and bend to what Freud called the “reality principle,” but that modern technology has made it possible to live well with neither poverty nor sexual repression and overcome the “primacy of repression” (Marcuse).
  7. Read the selections by Lawrence, Sartre, Fanon, and Le Carré in Section 11 and compare them to the proposition advanced by Goldschmidt concerning “affect hunger.” Then, construct an argument for or against the proposition that pessimism concerning the moral quality of “human nature” is more plausible than “optimism”—especially with regard to this question, you may wish to include some reference to other parts of the ebook.
  8. At this very moment major league baseball players are negotiating a new contract with the owners of their teams. They want more money for their services. One of them is a 22-year-old  player named Fernando Tatis, Jr. He already has a contract with the San Diego Padres to play for that team in the National Baseball League. He will receive $340 million over the next 14 years. That means that he will be paid more than ten times as much in a single year as most “middle-class” people earn in their lifetimes. Now, think also of the fact that the owners of those baseball teams can afford to pay those salaries and still make a huge profit at the end of each year. With all of that in mind, explain how such lucrative deals can be made using the method of “cultural materialism” as outlined in the “Introduction” to the ebook.


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