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Enlightenment is a broad concept that embodies overlapping aspects from the same general perspective. It is viewed as the establishment of a framework of ideas, regarding the ideas of man, the society and nature, which served to question the existing notions embodies in the traditional worldview that were subjugated by Christianity. It is creating some new system of thought about the existence of man in the natural environment that challenged what was initially accepted. The term Enlightenment may have different meanings; in religious or spiritual terms, it may refer to gaining wisdom and understanding of true spiritual meaning. On the other hand, it may also refer to intellectual or secular Enlightenment that refers to understanding reason and science different from religion (Osborne, 21). Enlightenment simply challenged the clergy and the religious understanding present at the time by introducing new thoughts supported by science and reason. This resulted in various contractions, while at the same time path breaking. In general, Enlightenment has been acclaimed to result in present sociology. The purpose of this essay is to explore both dimensions of the Enlightenment and ascertain their relationship with the emergence of sociology. The essay highlights three distinct themes in the Enlightenment discourse and shows how each embodies contradictory claims. In addition, the essay discusses how the themes and contractions influenced the birth of sociology in the 1800s.
At the beginning of the Enlightenment, there was a divergence of the themes under the discussion. However, the elites agreed on a number of themes that would dominate the discussion of Enlightenment. The first distinct theme under the Enlightenment was that of reason. Osborne (30) defines reason as a means of organizing knowledge based on thought and previous experience, in order to reach a conclusion. However, the idea of reason presented quite a number of contradictory stances. The first contradiction posed by reason was that rationality should be arrived at basing on clear and intrinsic thoughts, which were wholly independent of experience. The rational thought suggested that any independently thinking person should not rely on any earlier experiences to arrive at a conclusion. This is because previous experiences may have been misinterpreted (Hamilton 15). Reason should be based on independently discerning the case in hand. On the contrary, there was a second argument on the matter of reason. This second school of thought argues that rationalism should be based on empiricism. This implies that all thought and reasoning should be based on the knowledge of the natural and social world in which we exist. Such reasoning should be based on things that every man can perceive through our sensory organs, also referred to as experience.
The second theme under the Enlightenment discourse that brought about an extensive discussion was universalism. Hamilton perceives universalism as a concept that requires science and reason to be applied in arriving at any conclusion. Particularly, wide knowledge of science was to be used in making assertions regarding the world we live (Hamilton, 40). This implied that a truly enlightened person would need to know everything in order to get to a conclusion. No one was to be limited in the discourse that one wanted to learn and understand. The enlightened strongly believed that education was to be limitless without the need to getting expert in any one field. There was to be no boundaries in any aspect of understanding. On the contrary, the discourse of Enlightenment resulted in the disciplines of specialization that we understand today. The Enlightenment produced experts in several fields. Hamilton (40) argues that it is for this reason that there are specialized learned experts in a single discourse. This played an integral role in creating a boundary system that appears to contradict with the very thought that created the enlightened society.
The third theme in the Enlightenment discourse that was path breaking and controversial at the same time was freedom. Perpetrators of Enlightenment believed that the freedom to own property, trade, free communicate, social interaction and religion were fundamental to good human life (Hamilton 45). The enlightened suggested that any sought of living that subjected the human life to suffering and lack of freedom was to be eliminated. In fact, Enlightenment led to the several revolution and formation of democratic republics that we know today. However, this posed a challenge in getting the elites to accept an equal societal standing with the lower class people and women. The ruling class believed in complete dominion over the subjects. One of the most prominent founders of modern day sociology was Saint-Simon (1760-1825) who lived through the French Revolution (Hamilton, 46). He was a product of the Enlightenment discourse and was well educated. In his assertion, education had achieved one of its main purposes and prompted the changes in the society through the revolution. His study of science and society prompted him to front for social physiology. In this assertion, science and industry would only work at the benefit of humankind, if there were social reorganization. Such social reorganization is now what is referred to as sociology. Other scholars, such as Augustus Comte, spearheaded the ideal of sociology through freedom and reason. Such social freedom and equality in the society has the capacity of transforming the world to a better place. Eitzen (25) argues that through the proper social equality, sports can be used to improve the lives of even the poorest of the society. Many young and sporty individuals have benefitted through finances in terms of wages, as well as gaining education from scholarships. A free and social society has been fostered by sports. Today clubs and teams are multiracial and sport organizations are fostering efforts in using sports for a socially improved society. Women have also been included, in order to have a society improving in both genders.
Section B: Social Conflict and Order
Social conflict can be defined as the struggle for agency and supremacy within the social order. Social conflict occurs when two parties within a social setting oppose each other in trying to attain some differing goals. Such social struggle is also veered towards making sure that the opponent in the conflict does not attain any goals. It is taking oriented actions towards ensuring that the other party does attain any success (Eitzen et al 25). Social conflict is mainly characterized by interest rather than principles or custom. Such interest is typically of a personal nature or concern to the groups in conflict. In general, such conflict is fostered by pursuit of the personal interest, which is not abnormal within a society. The most common cause of social conflict is usually the fight for resources. This is due to the fact the society is composed of several communities and groups that fight for the same limited resource. However, even as a community may seem to present a sought of united cooperative front, there is always an inherent continues power struggle. It is also a fact that any community, group or individual accessing any resource, will use any such a resource for personal benefit. This will make the privilege society rather wealthy who will attempt to gain control (Eitzen et al 45). The process in which a social conflict leads to a dominant group seeking power heralds the new idea of social control. Social control is defined as the attempt by the affluent group in society to prevent the underprivileged from changing such a status. Such a state of social control will continue to exist due to the fact the affluent control the resources that give them the power.
On other the hand, social conflict could lead to deviance, which now is common in the society. Deviance can be defined in social terms to refer to any actions or behaviors that go against the principles and norms of the society such as crime. Norms are principles of the society define the manner in which we relate to each other. Failure to conform to such outlined behavior seeks to shift the balance of the society from what is acceptable (Eitzen et al 78).
In the context of social conflict, deviance has been approached from a rather different angle. The German Philosopher, Karl Marx firstly introduces the idea of renegade character in an imperialistic society. He argues that the justice system is controlled by the ruling elite and that any such a system favors the rich and oppresses the subjects (Weitzer 45). According to the theory of social conflict, there is a bound to be ruling elite that exercises control over people and resources. Such an existence will lead to a group, community or individual standing up against such ruling elite in either violence or other defiant means. Several societies have seen the defiant group eventually taking over either by the form of revolution or civil war.
Social Order and its Approaches to Deviance and Social Control
Social order can define to be set of persistent institutions, norms and interactions that have been practiced continually, and seem to be a perpetual existence. It encompasses all the ideals and customs that a society considered principle and paramount over a long period. It refers to the order in which a society has found acceptable. A society may seem to be constant violence and dysfunctional, however, if this is what the society is used then that is its social order (Eitzen et al 58).
Social Order and Social Control
As earlier stated, social control is the state, in which a dominant group imposes control over less dominant group in the society. In the context of social order, such a control is a smooth and less vilified existence. In the case of social order, such a control has been found to be noble, and the subjects do not have any opposing to this. For instance in the medieval time, people accepted monarch and imperial rules. In fact, the subject paid taxes and offered their children to the army. Similarly, today many rulers exist in democratic institution that are in part of the social order. Citizens pay taxes willingly and offer their children to the army.
Social Order and Deviance
While social conflict may find deviance an acceptable aspect, social order approaches deviance as an unacceptable aspect. This is because the social order is rarely imposed on anyone; thus, one going against such set out society would against the wishes of the society. In understanding this, the society has developed justice systems that tend to deal with defiant character.
Social Order and Sport in America
Social order in America has been a good thing, as several young sportsmen have largely benefitted from sport. In America, a good sports person is usually granted scholarships and other rewards, such as huge salaries.
Social Conflict and Sport
While social order ensures that the sportsmen and sportswomen have a good living, conflict in sports is also a good thing. Presently, America has the most competitive leagues, and this is due to the struggle for leadership in the sport.
Social Order and Social Welfare
The social welfare of the society is the general wellbeing of the society. Order has provided a good society in upholding good character and important societal values. No society can exist without a proper long-standing form of social order.
Social Conflict and Social Welfare
While the social order is important, social conflict that has improved the world that we live in. Since the time immemorial, societies have always worked to eliminate oppressive rulers and other forms of social oppression. Uprising and revolution have always worked to result in social balance in the community.