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Friday, May 01, 2015 ©1999-2006 by Ronald Keith Bolender1 SOC4044 Sociological Theory: Herbert Spencer.

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Presentation on theme: "Friday, May 01, 2015 ©1999-2006 by Ronald Keith Bolender1 SOC4044 Sociological Theory: Herbert Spencer."— Presentation transcript:

1 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender1 SOC4044 Sociological Theory: Herbert Spencer

2 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender2 Herbert Spencer References Coser, Lewis A Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideas in Historical and Social Context. 2d ed. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers. Keb, Julia Ann “Herbert Spencer: Social Darwinism in Education.” Retrieved October 6, 1999 (http://www.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/spencer.html). Mooney, Linda A., David Knox, and Caroline Schacht Understanding Social Problems. New York: West Publishing Company. Peel, J. D. Y “Spencer and the Neo-evolutionists.“ Pp in Theories and Paradigms in Contemporary Sociology. Edited by R. Serge Denisfoff, Orel Callahan, and Mark H. Levine. Itasca, IL: F. E. Peacock Publishers, Incorporated. Perdue, William D Sociological Theory: Explanation, Paradigm, and Ideology. Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company. Spencer, Herbert. [1850] Social Statics: or, the Condition Essential to Human Happiness Specified and the First of Them Developed. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts. Spencer, Herbert. [1873] The Study of Sociology. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Spencer, Herbert The Principles of Sociology, Part VIII. Toffler, Alvin The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books. Turner, Jonathan H The Structure of Sociological Theory. 6th ed. Cincinnati, OH: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Turner, Jonathan H., Leonard Beeghley, and Charles H. Powers The Emergence of Sociology Theory. 4th ed. Cincinnati, OH: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Wang, Bee Lan C “Population and Hunger.” Pp in Social Problems: Christian Perspectives. Edited by Charles P. DeSanto and Margaret M. Poloma. Winston-Salem, NC: Hunter Textbooks, Incorporated.

3 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender3 Herbert Spencer

4 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender4 Herbert Spencer zBorn April 27, 1820 in Derby, England yLocated in the heart of British industry zOldest of nine children, the only to survive zReligious/political/philosophical background yNonconformist Dissenters xPartial Quaker in thinking xSupported laissez-faire economics (Coser 1977: ; Perdue 1986:56)

5 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender5 Herbert Spencer zTaught at home by his father and later his uncle zEducation--heavy in science--very light in Latin, Greek, English, and History zBy age 16 he had a good background in mathematics and the natural sciences zNever would become a generally educated individual

6 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender6 Herbert Spencer zIn 1837 (at the age of 17) he became an engineer at London and Birmingham Railroad zLater he worked as a draftsman for the Birmingham Railway yDischarged in he returned home to Derby

7 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender7 Herbert Spencer zNext few years published several articles in the radical press y“The Proper Sphere of Government” xArgued for an extreme restriction of the scope of government The whole field of human activity (except for policing) should be left to private enterprise There are no poor laws, no national education, no established church, no restrictions on commerce, and no factory legislation

8 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender8 Herbert Spencer yIn 1850, he finished his first book, Social Statics xBased on the theme in “The Proper Sphere of Government” Creed of laissez faire xHis work was in disagreement with Comte in the area of “intervention.” Comte visualized that a “social priest” (with governmental powers) would fine tune society so that society would run as smoothly as possible. Similar to the role of the chairperson of the Federal Reserve (in the United States) in fine tuning the economy via changing interest rates.

9 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender9 Herbert Spencer The basic argument of Social Statics can be stated as follows: Human happiness can be achieved only when individuals can satisfy their needs and desires without infringing on the rights of others to do the same. (Turner, Beeghley, and Powers 1998:45-46)

10 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender10 Herbert Spencer Each member of the race...must not only be endowed with faculties enabling him to receive the highest enjoyment in the act of living, but must be so constituted that he may obtain full satisfaction for every desire, without diminishing the power of others to obtain like satisfaction: nay, to fulfill the purpose perfectly, must derive pleasure from seeing pleasure in others. (Spencer [1850] 1888:448)

11 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender11 Herbert Spencer z“The Developmental Hypothesis” y1852, seven years prior to Darwin’s Origin of Species yExpounded and advocated a theory of evolution

12 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender12 Herbert Spencer zIn 1853 he received a sizable inheritance from his uncle’s estate zFrom then on he lived the life of a private scholar zA lifelong bachelor living frugally in various lodgings and rooming houses in London

13 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender13 Herbert Spencer zAround 1854, Spencer suffered from a nervous illness--at times unable to concentrate, write, or even to read yAttempted to overcome acute insomnia with heavy doses of opium yHe eventually retreated from society, became a semi-hermit

14 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender14 Herbert Spencer zPrinciples of Biology (several volumes ) yTextbook used at Oxford zThe Study of Sociology (1873) yTextbook used at Yale University xWilliam Graham Sumner taught Spencerism at Yale zPrinciples of Psychology (two volumes ) yTextbook used at Harvard University

15 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender15 Herbert Spencer Throughout his life Spencer refused nearly all honors offered him by universities, the government, or scientific bodies. He had no official position and no university degree. Yet during the last quarter of the century he enjoyed an international reputation and influence almost comparable to that of Charles Darwin. (Coser 1977:107)

16 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender16 Herbert Spencer zParadigm: Order zClass of Theories: Organicism ySocietal Evolution xSocial Darwinism (Turner 1998:80) y“Society is akin to a special organism obeying its own laws of ‘progress.’” yPlatonic Theme xThe natural order of all societies is one of hierarchy. (Perdue 1986:47)

17 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender17 Herbert Spencer Almost a decade before Darwin published On the Origin of Species, Spencer coined the phrase “survival of the fittest.” zSpencer’s Social Statics [1850] zSpencer had used the phrase earlier when writing articles for newspapers. (Turner 1998:80, 85)

18 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender18 Herbert Spencer “...Spencer had made the connection between biology and sociology.” (Turner 1998:80) This is a profound statement. A large segment of sociological thought is closely aligned with biology--especially in ecological themes.

19 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender19 Herbert Spencer Comte had allied sociology with biology, arguing that in the hierarchy of the sciences, sociology would emerge from biology and become the “queen science.”

20 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender20 Herbert Spencer superorganic But Spencer did more than make superficial analogies between biological and social bodies, he proclaimed that sociology was to be the study of superorganic organisms--that is, relations among living organisms--and he included more than human organisms in this definitions. (Turner 1998:80)

21 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender21 Herbert Spencer Survival Similarities in Social and Biological Systems zProduction of life-sustaining substances zReproduction of system parts zRegulation and control of actions by system parts zDistribution of information and materials among system units (Turner 1998:80)

22 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender22 Herbert Spencer The sociological concept of progress was elevated by Spencer. The evolution of society involves increasing complexity of social structure and associate culture symbols, and this complexity increases the capacity of the human species to adapt and survive in its environment. (Turner 1998:81)

23 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender23 Herbert Spencer Evolution, that is, “a change from a state of relatively indefinite, incoherent, homogeneity to at state of relatively definite, coherent, heterogeneity,” was to Spencer that universal process, which explains “...those latest changes which we trace in society and the products of social life.” (Coser 1977:89)

24 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender24 Herbert Spencer Spencer argued, that the evolution of human societies, far from being different from other evolutionary phenomena, is but a special case of a universally applicable natural law. Sociology can become a science only when it is based on the idea of belief in a social order not conforming to natural law, survives.” (Coser 1977:90)

25 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender25 Herbert Spencer Spencer’s most fruitful use of organic analogies was his notion that with evolutionary growth come changes in any units structure and functions, that increases in size bring in their wake increases in differentiation. (Coser 1977:90)

26 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender26 Herbert Spencer Evolution-- Unilinear or Multilinear?

27 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender27 Herbert Spencer zThe earlier Spencer indicated a unilinear model of evolution--a straightforward progressive march. zThe mature Spencer indicated that “regression” was possible (influenced by what he saw in England toward the end of the 19th century). (Coser 1977:96-97)

28 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender28 Herbert Spencer Social progress is not linear but divergent and re-divergent... (Spencer 1897:725) It was always Spencer’s view that the true symbol of development was not a chain, but a tree. (Peel 1974:198)

29 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender29 Herbert Spencer Wave Theory Illustrated by Toffler in The Third Wave (Toffler 1980) Toffler is really a conflict theorist, but one can see traces of “evolutionary” ideas within his work.

30 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender30 Herbert Spencer Survival of the Fittest zWar and complex societies zInterventions into lesser societies (Turner 1998:81)

31 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender31 Herbert Spencer Refer to Herbert Spencer Handout

32 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender32 Herbert Spencer (Turner, Beeghley, and Powers 1998:58-61)

33 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender33 Herbert Spencer War, has an interesting impact upon society. It is one of the few social phenomena that “individualistic” members of a modern society are willing to “sacrifice” self-centerness for the “good” of society as a whole. After all, war is the ultimate social problem. (Per Dr. Bolender 1999)

34 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender34 Herbert Spencer zThe period of World War II was the closest that the United States was to having a socialist-type government. zIndividualism was sacrificed for the “good” of the “community.” (Per Dr. Bolender 1999)

35 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender35 Herbert Spencer At least for a period of time, members of society are willing to allow “major” efficient changes to be made “overnight.” Also, there are “residual” affects after the war, for example, the GI Bill.

36 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender36 Herbert Spencer (Turner, Beeghley, and Powers 1998:62-64)

37 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender37 Herbert Spencer (Turner, Beeghley, and Powers 1998:64-68)

38 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender38 Herbert Spencer The Contrast Between Militant and Industrial Societies (see handout)

39 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender39 Herbert Spencer positive outcomes for society Structural-functionalism focuses on the functions war serves and suggests that war would not exist unless it had positive outcomes for society...War has created a world of larger political units... from 600,000 around 1,000 BC to less than 200 today. (Mooney, Knox, and Schacht 1997: , )

40 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender40 Herbert Spencer Through centuries of warfare, the state (as a large political unit) was created... This led to greater stability which led to profound positive social and cultural changes.

41 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender41 Herbert Spencer Industrialization and technology could not have developed in the small social groups that existed before military action consolidated them into larger states. Thus, war contributed indirectly to the industrialization and technological sophistication that characterized the modern world.

42 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender42 Herbert Spencer As societies become more industrialized, their proneness to warfare decreases... zPreindustrial nations yOverall mean of 10.6 wars per decade zIndustrial nations yOverall mean of 2.7 wars per decade

43 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender43 Herbert Spencer Positive Benefits of War zCreates solidarity yGives society a common cause to rally around zIncreases employment and stimulates the economy zInspires scientific and technological developments that are useful to civilians yMicrowave oven yInternet

44 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender44 Herbert Spencer zServes to encourage social reform yGI Bill yVA xHealth care xHousing

45 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender45 Herbert Spencer: Nonintervention Nonintervention and the Survival of the Fittest (Coser 1977:99-101)

46 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender46 Herbert Spencer: Nonintervention Spencer, the same as Darwin, drew the concept of survival of the fittest from the works of Thomas Robert Malthus. The role of “intervention” is a major/serious philosophical issue in the concept of “pure evolution and nonintervention.”

47 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender47 Herbert Spencer: Nonintervention Classical Malthusianism zThomas Robert Malthus yEnglish economist zEssay on the Principle of Population yFirst published in 1798 AD (Wang 1985: )

48 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender48 Herbert Spencer: Nonintervention zBasic principles of the Malthus’ Theory yFood is essential for the existence of man y“Passion between the sexes” will continue to exist and to result in population growth yPopulation grows “geometrically” whereas at best food increases only “arithmetically”

49 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender49 Herbert Spencer: Nonintervention zPositive checks yFamines yDisease yWars Given the human propensities to procreate faster than food can be produced, most of mankind is poor most of the time

50 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender50 Herbert Spencer: Nonintervention zPreventive checks (moral restraints) yDelayed marriages yReduced frequency of sex relations within marriage yNo premarital or extramarital sex relations Malthus did not think that the effect of “moral restraint” would be significant. Further, he did not approve of the practice of contraception.

51 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender51 Herbert Spencer: Nonintervention The classical Malthusian theory of population implies that an increase in the food supply or income would result in either fewer people dying, or in more marrying earlier and having more children. In either case both would result in increased population growth, thereby nullifying the effects of the additional food or income. Thus, Malthus looked with disfavor on welfare programs in England during his day and, if he were living today, he would probably think it equally unwise to send food to starving people overseas.

52 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender52 Herbert Spencer: Nonintervention Spencer’s own theory of population was slightly more optimistic than Malthus. (Coser 1977: )

53 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender53 Herbert Spencer: Nonintervention Spencer argued that an excess in fertility stimulates greater activity because the more people there are, the more ingenuity is required to stay alive. The least intelligent groups and individuals die off; hence, the general level of intelligence is bound to rise gradually.

54 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender54 Herbert Spencer: Nonintervention Except.... The intervention of government in social affairs, Spencer argued, must distort the necessary adaptation of society to its environment. Once government intervenes, the beneficial process that would naturally lead to man’s more efficient and more intelligent control over nature will be distorted and give rise to a reverse process that can only lead to the progressive deterioration of the human race. (Based on Social Statics Spencer 1892:151--special edition of Social Statics). (Coser 1977: )

55 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender55 Herbert Spencer: Nonintervention This is applicable to organization behavior at the micro level.

56 Friday, May 01, 2015 © by Ronald Keith Bolender56 Herbert Spencer: Nonintervention Christian response to the “intervention” versus “nonintervention” question/issue.


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