Sociology 250

Fall 1995

First Short Paper (12 points)

Due: October 6, 1995

Choose one of the following topics and write a short paper on this topic. The paper should clearly explain and discuss the topic chosen. If appropriate, in the paper you may want to include a short critique of the views and approaches you ar e discussing.

The paper should be no longer than three typewritten double-spaced pages. In a paper of this length there should be very few quotes. Do not rely on quotes to make the arguments for you, and explain the concepts and ideas in your own words. Where you do use quotes or references, these should be properly cited. If you use only the sources listed on the class outline or below, these may be cited like (Ritzer, p. 27) or (Sydie, pp. 34-35). If you use other sources, complete citations should be provi ded in footnotes or at the end of the paper. Provide a bibliography of the sources you have used.

Avoid using "man" and "he" in the generic sense, except where they are part of a direct quote. Otherwise, if you use "man" or "he" I will assume you are referring to males only.


1. Explain Marx's view of alienation. In this explanation, comment on the sources of alienation and some of the consequences of alienation.

2. Identify the various social classes in the Marxian analysis of capitalism. Show how each of these classes forms part of the structure of capitalist society and changes in that structure.

3. How is surplus value created in Marx's model of capitalism? Also explain how surplus value expands and how it is used in this model.

4. Explain and critique Marx and Engels' view of the family in capitalism.

5. "Rationalization plays the same role within Weber's theoretical system that class struggle serves in the Marxian theoretical structure." Comment on and critique this statement.

6. Suppose Marx had been able to return to write a book review of Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Write this review.

7. Marx and Weber each discussed class. Write an essay outlining the main similarities and differences in the Marxian and Weberian views of class.

In addition to the books listed on the class outline, the following references may be useful. There are many other books on Marx and Marxism in the HB97.5 and HX 39.5 section of the Library.

S. Avineri, The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx. HX 39.5 A853

Z. Eisenstein, The Radical Future of Liberal Feminism

H. H. Gerth and C. W. Mills, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology

A. Giddens, The Class Structure of Advanced Capitalist Societies. HT 609 G47

A. Giddens and D. Held, Classes, Power, and Conflict: Classical and Contemporary Debates

E. G. Grabb, Theories of Social Inequality. HT 609 G72

A. Hunter, Class Tells

E. Mandel, Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory. HB 97.5 M26513

E. Mandel, The Formation of the Economic Thought of Karl Marx. HB 97.5 M2613

R. Tong, Feminist Thought: A Comprehensive Introduction. HQ 1206 T65

M. Weber. General Economic History

M. Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

I. M. Zeitlin, Ideology and the Development of Sociological Theory



Return to Sociology 250