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The subject of the study is the evolution of Durkheim’s views on society, the further development of his ideas on the part of his eminent followers (Mauss and Halbwchs) as well as the reception of Durkheim’s ideas on the part of sociologists and anthropologists beyond the narrow circle of his disciples. The focus of the analysis is the problem of the relationship between society and nature. The contradictions in Durkheim’s ideas of society and the failure of his attempt to combine biologism („the strife for existence“) and moralism are discussed. Durkheim finds a solution in the separation of society from nature and its description as a reality sui generis. „Social facts“ are declared to be creations of „collective conscience“; material things, in their social being are transformed into a purely passive element (substrate). Human „masses“ become a kind of „substrate“ as well. Durkheim’s disciples keep this conceptual frame, whereas other Durkheim adherents change it substantially in various directions. In the whole Durkheim tradition, however, (sociology and anthropology) society has been interpreted as entirely separated from nature –in biological and telluric aspect. So, Durkheimian, and mainstream sociology altogether, turn out to be theoretically unprepared for the arising ecological problems and face the attacks of reductionist „biosociology“ of the last several decades. So contemporary development brings us back to the Durkheim’s initial dilemma about the relationship between the natural and the social.
Keywords: Durkheim, Mauss, Halbwachs, Malinowski, Radcliff-Brown, Levi-Strauss, sociology, anthropology, society, nature, biological
The paper considers the various modes of things in Marx’s social context: as objects and tools of labour, as means of production, determining the social process, and also as goods-fetishes. In the first mode, things in Marx are entirely subordinate to human will. In the last two, they acquire autonomous strengths and even reign over the humans but that is linked to specific, historically transitional social conditions. Mark’s ideal is of complete domination over things in a future rationally organized society. In this framework, Marx’s view on nature and the option of ecological interpretation of his works is discussed as well. Finally, the question is raised concerning the possibility of alternative categorial scheme of the relationship between nature and society.
Abstract: The study presents an analysis of the contradiction between the dominating neo-classical economic theory and economic reality. Facts and theoretical arguments are adduced proving the presence and the considerable scale of such a contradiction. An essential reason for the deficiency of the theory is its false view of “the economic man”. This construct is in controversy with contemporary visions of ‘the nature’ of man in philosophy, sociology and psychology. There are forces and factors in economy disproving the myth of the market being an autonomous mechanism for harmonious development, which meets the criterion of justice as well; a mechanism, leaving an insignificant space for public regulation.
Another thesis expounded in the article is that of the necessity of a new theoretical synthesis to integrate real social forces and factors. This view does not mean crossing out the market as an institution. It is an accomplishment of civilization which is to be used reasonably like every other instrument. The untenability of the idea of ‘growth stimulation’ is pointed out and is argued that there is need of programmed economic development on the basis of values eminent for human existence (decent material conditions, health, education, personal autonomy).
Keywords: Economic theory, market failures, corruption, politics, values.