Essay on Durkheim Is Dead! Macro vs. Micro Beliefs

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I have grouped the sociologists in Durkheim is Dead into three groups: macro to micro, micro and macro, and micro to macro. I did not place any one of the individuals into just the macro or just the micro categories. Each one fell into a group that I considered to be in-between.

In the macro to micro category, each sociological theory concentrated on one major problem of society and then went on to explain what would have to be done within individuals in order to achieve social progress. Durkheim's focus was upon the division of labor being the primary cause of social problems (Berger 123). For Du Bois, the concentration was on racial issues; "I have faith in the power of freedom and democracy to lead these peoples to higher levels of... progress. I see race, not class, as the fundamental cause of the problems societies have faced over the centuries" (Berger 120). Falling also into the macro to micro category were Lenin and B. Webb. Lenin focuses on the exploitation of the working class as a whole, while Webb concentrated on criminal behavior connected to poverty and poor people as an entire group. The sociologists in this category tended towards focusing on the society as a whole, with the occasional correlation to the individual as the focal point; each theorist was concentrated on groups of individuals more so than the individual. Durkheim's idea was that suicide was more of a reflection of the society within which the individual lives, than it was a reflection of the individual. Durkheim did research linking suicides and communities. He found that "organic societies - those characterized by weak links between people and the breakdown of a sense of community" had higher rates than communities that were lin...

... middle of paper ... 94). There isn't much on Du Bois, Lenin and B. Webb; however, they are focused upon studying society as whole, and large groups as a whole, such as the working class, the African Americans, and the Poor, and how those groups affect social progress.

I find myself agreeing most with Simmel in the sense that the individual determines society and the society determines the individual. Because the other groups fall into places in-between micro and macro (the micro to macro arrow and macro to micro arrow on Giddens' model of structuration) the best compromise seems to be a combination, micro and macro structuration. Sociology, in my opinion, is just simply the study of interactions between individuals and groups within society.

*The only text cited is from the book "Durkheim is Dead! Sherlock Holmes is Introduced to Sociological Theory" by Arthur Asa Berger.

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