The society is one of the social scenes that have realized tremendous changes in the recent and the far past. A lot of changes are experienced in various sectors and dimensions of the society including the social composition and perceptions about different phenomena over the earth’s surface. Several kinds of literature have investigated the different social aspects of the human society to delineate trends and developments taking place within. Early scholars such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels among others have concentrated a lot of their studies on the genesis and development of the society by focusing on a wide variety of phenomena. Karl Marx, for instance, developed theories that focused on the perspectives of the materialistic nature of the humans. A lot of economic patterns and perspectives have been illustrated in many of these theories including the modes of production in different societies, the forces as well as relations that facilitates production mechanisms in various spheres, the aspects of division of labour in the society, different societal ideologies and the role of different classes in various societies. These factors have led to the stratification of the society based on different considerations. Each stratum is influenced by a different perspective and changes through time.
Karl Marx particularly focussed his attention on the struggles among different classes of people to acquire wealth and thus climb the economic ladder (Kellner, 2005). Such struggles have led to the emergence of the bourgeois class especially in the modern societies composed of the high class. The less endowed or less fortunate class, on the other hand, has lived to serve the bourgeois class in various perspectives including the businesses and other sectors of production. The class is a critical factor in the current society and has influenced various forms of relations at different levels of the society. The advent of the current modern society has brought into play various factors both in the social and economic spheres. This paper focusses on some of the social factors that have had significant impacts on the social dimensions of the society.
The perspective of the Marxism is associated with the works of Karl Max, a German scholar and economist who put forward the hypothesis of class struggle. Among the factors that are considered integral to this research are the Marxists ideologies and their influences on the human societies, feminism and post-modernism. These perspectives shall be cross-checked with other influencing factors such as the media, education, health, family and gender. The Marxists perspectives on class and struggle can be explained in the context of theory and the political practice of the society, the strategy and tactics of the bourgeois class in the society among others. As (Kellner, 2005) observes, these struggles are what has brought into place the aspect of development and economic growths in various societies. The Marxists perspectives look into the rise of capitalism as a productive means in which the society has to develop towards, the rise of the bourgeois society characterised by the emergence and development of classes based on the differences in wealth ownership and generation.
This was seen as a revolution geared towards overthrowing the industrial proletariats who dominated the pre-industrial period. These factors were to be influenced by the aspects of modernity, globalization and the growth in the political, economic, social, philosophical and historical revolutions in political scenes and spheres. The modern capitalistic societies have been associated with various developments that have changed and modified the human society to attain certain stratification influenced not only by the among of wealth amerced by an individual but also propagated by other factors such as the media, education and professionalism.
Different societies are characterised by different social groups that are influenced by wealth and knowledge. Marxists believe in the power of an individual or society based on the amount of wealth amerced or acquired. These perspectives led to the emergence and development of capitalistic markets and perspectives that rule various societies in the modern world. Capitalism is concerned with the need to acquire and generate more wealth (what Marxian revolutionists refer to as wealth accumulation) (Riddell, 2006). Class integrations are influenced by the human quest and demand for power and regard. The industrial age (Riddell, 2006) was characterised by the rise in economic developments in the West influenced by the increase in knowledge through education.
As the industries began to develop and increase in number especially in Europe during the industrial age, there was great demand for additional skilled labour to manage the industries productively and operate the machines that were being invented continuously to aid in industrial productivity. As a result, the need for education escalated in various societies to provide the desired labour at the industries. The current societies are structured in this manner. Even today, education places a very critical role in ensuring that development prospects are attained in each society. The Marxists capitalistic society that is seen in almost all parts of the world currently continues to demand a skilled labour force that would steer developments in the industrial and economic sectors of these societies. Education, therefore, places an integral role in shaping the different phases of the societies by providing the necessary means and expertise to aid in wealth accumulation within the capitalistic societies.
The educated and skilled people are expected to get good jobs, be productive and hence have improved lifestyles. In fact, the educated class today are considered the bourgeois class due to the high-income levels associated with them. Such classes and dominations are associated propelled by the media and affects the perspectives of the societies by changing the views and opinions about wealth creation and power in the society. For instance, the media associated the educated with great wealth, skills and knowledge that are necessary to generate wealth. As a result, people in different societies seek to attain education as a means of acquiring wealth and power.
Proponents of feminism tend to advocate for gender equality in the society achieved through equal treatments and considerations for various opportunities arising in the society (Freedman, 2001). Feminism is related to the society’s perspectives on different gender classes and categories represented within them. Feminists believe in the existence of a biased relationship between different genders categories. Two gender classes were most common in the ancient societies: men and women. However, the post-modern society is characterised by the rise of yet another gender category: the transgender. The transgender is a voluntary transfer of one’s gender category/class/ perspective as either male or female without changing their biological perspectives.
Feminists argue from the perspective that there exists a bias in the society regarding how different gender classes are perceived, viewed and regarded depending on their sexes/ biological characteristics. Particularly, feminists advocate amplifying the voice of women and the female members of the society based on an assumption that this gender category is less revered less appreciated and whose voice is often suppressed by the dominating male society. As Freedman (2001) highlights, feminism is not anti-patriarchy but rather advocates for equal and fair treatments among various member of the society in which we live.
Strong feminists’ movements have emerged in the recent past to advocate for fair and equal treatments for men and women. Feminists’ movements developed following the feelings of suppression of the female voice and have been propelled by the rise in global awareness through the media, as well as education developments in the society. Men are portrayed by the media as muscular and strong. Besides, the media portrays men as intelligent beings who are liable to making well-informed decisions compared to their female counterparts. Due to this, the society, therefore, regards men more than women. To illustrate this aspect, in most patriarchal societies such as the Muslim regions women are treated in a far different way compared to men. This is because women are considered a weaker sex that depends on men to live.
The media associates women with beauty and sex while men are created as the homeowners, decision makers and powerful members of the society who owns wealth and property while women live under their mercies (Frosh, Phoenix & Pattman, 2001). Such perceptions led to the tremendous violation of women’s rights in various perspectives. For instance, most women have been violated sexually especially in patriarchal societies such as the Middle East. Besides their voices have been suppressed to discourage them from making any independent decisions. Violence against women in various societies is the primary factor that has prompted most feminists in the contemporary times to push even harder for women’s liberation in various societies. The media has helped a lot in unveiling the injustices committed to the female gender in the societies including in workplaces where women are considered a slow learners who can hold junior offices while the senior ranks are held by men (Frosh, Phoenix & Pattman, 2001) and the regard accorded to the male child in various societies compared to the female children (Pernisco, 2010).
The post-modern era is associated with the modern societies where human knowledge and characters have greatly increased regarding various events and activities being conducted within space and time. Although postmodernism is not considered a new dimension to social analysis and approaches anymore, it is associated with the various changes in perceptions about how the society viewed certain aspects (Hossain & Karim, 2013). For instance, the manner in which people of different gender categories are perceived by the society has greatly changed. Among these are human rights that apply both the men and women in various regions of the world. Increased awareness of the dimensions of the society has demonstrated the female gender as an equally important person that can undertake similar tasks carried out by men. The post-modern period has also increased the chances for education especially among the female gender, increased their chances of employment as well as participation in various social events (Hossain & Karim, 2013). The media and education are among the factors that have opened avenues to enable the female gender to gain a considerable position in the society by increasing her participation in decision-making and leadership positions. The role of female gender in the families has also changed from the traditional caretaker to a provider entrusted with the welfare of their families.
The social systems of the society have undergone a series of changes and challenges as the society changes from one stage to another. Various factors and perspectives have been found to play an integral role in determining the direction and nature of the transformations taking place within different societies. Among these are the perspectives such as the views on Marxism, feminism and the post-modern perceptions about the society in general. The perspectives mentioned have been augmented and developed with the assistance of the media, education and the society in general. As a result, they have also changed the society’s settings and compositions by redefining the laws, norms and behavioural characteristics of different societies as has been demonstrated in the text.
Part two: research methods
A wide array of methodologies are available for use in social researches. The choice of a suitable research methodology will be made based on the needs of the research and the objectives set to be achieved by the research. This section describes some of the common methodologies used in various social studies researches around the globe.
Case study researches are a preferred social research method in various studies, especially about the different societies. Case studies are conducted in situations where the social scientists are curious about their societies and seek to find out more concerning these societies. Case studies are often scheduled to probe in depth understanding of various phenomena affecting the society. The intent or objective of case studies is often unlimited since they look at a wide variety of factors eminent in the social society (Crano & Brewer, 2002). For instance, a person can conduct a case study research to determine the perception of a given society towards the female gender. Such researches will be confined to the particular society and not to other regions. Although the findings of case studies can be generalised, they are often limited to particular societies or regions where the studies were conducted
Any social setting everywhere is a suitable place for scientific research. Due to the differences in social settings of various societies and regions, there exists a great deal of diverse issues that can be probed through research and development. Case studies researches offer just the relevant opportunity to probe these characteristics in a more scientific and outstanding manner through research. It is for the ability of case studies researches to adopt the incorporate different research methodologies and styles in accomplishing its desires that it is the most revered and common research technique used by most researchers in the world. Case studies accord the researchers an ability to engage at a personal level with the research by creating close contacts between the persons and the communities/ societies being studied. In this way, therefore, the researchers can generate adequate information to aid in making elaborate and well-informed conclusions about different aspects being studied by the research (Crano & Brewer, 2002). In sociological studies, cases can vary in degree and number of participants. For instances, researchers can decide to conduct their studies on a particular type of entity e.g. a person, company or other factors in the society that interests his curiosity. The research elements can also be envisioned in the form of a group of people with shared characteristics, classes or category of people such as gangs, a particular sex or students, etc. Some case studies, besides, are inclined towards developing an ecological niche and carrying out research to provide a better understanding of these niches. Case study researches often generate a great deal of information and knowledge since they concentrate on narrowed perspectives to research a great deal of content. Case study is, therefore, the most popular research method used by social scientists
Action researches are also another common research method that has grown in importance and preference especially in the current societies where human needs and choices have increased several folds. Action researches are conducted with a particular intention in mind. Actin researches are conducted for a particular reason or purpose that has been preconceived before. In action researches, the researcher becomes part of the research team as well as the participant in the population being studied. Action researches are an integral form of research for social scientists. However, the researcher can be biased during participation to manipulate the society’s behaviour to suite his desired outcomes (Crano & Brewer, 2002). Action researches are common in anthropological studies of different societies where the researcher lives among the society and makes observations from within than from far away. For instance, a researcher can be interested in studying the social characteristics of a pastoralist’s society with an aim of introducing certain development projects such as a water project or a project that is aimed at stabilising the society’s movements. In such cases, the researcher will have to study the particular community or society at a closed range, probably by living amongst them to study their patterns of movements and factors that facilitate or prompt their movements. The findings of such research can then be used to inform decisions on the best projects to be developed in the regions to achieve the intended functions.
Ethics is an integral factor that researchers must observer while carrying out their researches in different places and with different persons. Ethics entails the observance of research requirements and purposes to avoid irregular practice and abuse of professionalism while conducting the research. The most common ethical issue that social researchers must observe is the need to maintain the anonymity of the participants. This ensures the safety of the participants as well as the information provided for the research. Anonymity can be obtained by according pseudonyms to the participants so that their real names and positions are not included in the study. Anonymity is often observed by researchers to accord the participants the required respect and privacy (Crano & Brewer, 2002). Another factor considered in social researches is avoidance of coercion through deception, force of intimidation during research especially where the participants are not interested in taking part in the study. This would lead to biased findings and unreliable outcomes that would distort the information availed from the research conducted.
Crano, W.D. & Brewer, M.B. 2002. Principles and Methods of Social Research. (2nd Ed.). Mahwah, New Jersey & London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Freedman, J. 2001. Concepts in the Social Sciences: Feminism. Buckingham, Philadelphia:
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Hossain, D.H & Karim, M.M.S. 2013. Postmodernism: Issues and Problems. Asian journal of social sciences & humanities, 2(2): 173-181.
Kellner, D. 2005.Western Marxism” in Modern Social Theory: An Introduction, A. Harrington. (ed). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, PP. 154-174.
Riddell, W.C. 2006. The Impact of Education on Economic and Social Outcomes: An Overview of Recent Advances in Economics. Presented at Workshop on An Integrated Approach to Human Capital Development. School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University and Statistics Canada. Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN)
Pernisco, N. (Ed). 2010. Social Media Impact and Implications on Society. The Student Journal for Media Literacy Education, 1(1): 1-17.
Stephen Frosh, Ann Phoenix, Rob Pattman. 2001. Young Masculinities: Understanding Boys in Contemporary Society. Palgrave Macmillan. (eBook). Accessed 2015 November 2 from https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=ulsdBQAAQBAJ&dq=impacts+of+feminism+on+the+contemporary+society&lr=&source=gbs_navli