Introducing Western Sociologists

Introducing Western Sociologists


How was the Industrial Revolution responsible for giving rise to sociology ?

The responsibility of Industrial Revolution responsible for giving rise to sociology :

(i) Birth of modern industry and systematic use of science and technology : The foundations of modern indsutry were laid by the Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It had some major aspects. For example, it was the systematic application of science and technology to industrial production, particularly the invention of new machines and the harnessing of new sources of power.

(ii) New ways of organising labour and Market : The industrial revolution also evolved new ways of organising labour and markets on a scale larger than anything in the past.

(iii) Use of machines, rise of factory system and production of manufactured goods on large scale : New machines like the Spinning Jenny (which greatly increased the productivity of the textile industry) and new methods of obtaining power (such as the various versions of the steam engine) facilitated the production process and gave rise to the factory system and mass manufacture of goods. These goods were now produced on a gignatic scale for distant markets across the world.

(iv) Getting raw material all over the world : The raw materials used in their production were also obtained from all over the world. Modern large scale industry thus became a world wide phenomenon.

(v) Major changes in the social life : These changes in the production system also resulted in major changes in social life. The factories set up in urban areas were manned by workers who were uprooted from the rural areas and came to the cities in search of work.

(vi) Low wages : Low wages at the factory meant that men, women and even children had to work long hours in hazardous circumstances to eke out a living. Modern industry enabled the urban to dominate over the rural. Cities and towns became the dominant forms of human settlement, housing large and unequal populations in small, densely populated urban areas. The rich and powerful lived in the cities, but so did the working classes who lived in slums amidst poverty and squalor.

(vii) Development of new type of Government : Modern forms of government, with the same assuming control of health, sanitation, crime control and general development created the demand for new kinds of knowledge. The social sciences and particularly sociology emerged partly as a response to this need.

(viii) Outset of sociological thoughts :

From the outset of sociological thought was concerned with the scientific analysis of developments in industrial society. This has prompted observers to argue that sociology was the ‘science of the new industrial society’.

(ix) Advent of modern industrial society : Empirically informed scientific discussion about trends in social behaviour only became possible with the advent of modern industrial society. The scientific information generated by the state to monitor and maintain the health of its social body becase the basis for reflection on society. Sociological theory was the result of this self-reflection.

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