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  • 1. SOC4044 SociologicalTheory:Herbert SpencerSunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith Bolender 1

2. Herbert SpencerReferencesCoser, Lewis A. 1977. Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideas in Historical and Social Context . 2d ed. New York:Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.Keb, Julia Ann. 1999. 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. 1997. Understanding Social Problems. New York: WestPublishing Company.Peel, J. D. Y. 1974. Spencer and the Neo-evolutionists. Pp. 188-209 in Theories and Paradigms in ContemporarySociology. Edited by R. Serge Denisfoff, Orel Callahan, and Mark H. Levine. Itasca, IL: F. E. Peacock Publishers,Incorporated.Perdue, William D. 1986. Sociological Theory: Explanation, Paradigm, and Ideology . Palo Alto, CA: MayfieldPublishing Company.Spencer, Herbert. [1850] 1888. Social Statics: or, the Condition Essential to Human Happiness Specified and the Firstof Them Developed. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Spencer, Herbert. [1873] 1961. The Study of Sociology. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Spencer, Herbert. 1897. The Principles of Sociology, Part VIII .Toffler, Alvin. 1980. The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books.Turner, Jonathan H. 1998. The Structure of Sociological Theory . 6th ed. Cincinnati, OH: Wadsworth PublishingCompany.Turner, Jonathan H., Leonard Beeghley, and Charles H. Powers. 1998. The Emergence of Sociology Theory. 4th ed.Cincinnati, OH: Wadsworth Publishing Company.Wang, Bee Lan C. 1985. Population and Hunger. Pp. 284-295 in Social Problems: Christian Perspectives. Edited byCharles P. DeSanto and Margaret M. Poloma. Winston-Salem, NC: Hunter Textbooks, Incorporated.Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith2Bolender 3. Herbert Spencer1820 - 1903Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith Bolender 3 4. Herbert Spencer Born April 27, 1820 in Derby, EnglandLocated in the heart of British industry Oldest of nine children, the only to survive Religious/political/philosophical backgroundNonconformist Dissenters Partial Quaker in thinking Supported laissez-faire economics (Coser 1977:102-103; Perdue 1986:56)Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith4Bolender 5. Herbert SpencerTaught at home by his father and later hisuncleEducation--heavy in science--very light inLatin, Greek, English, and HistoryBy age 16 he had a good background inmathematics and the natural sciencesNever would become a generallyeducated individualSunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith5Bolender 6. Herbert SpencerIn 1837 (at the age of 17) he became anengineer at London and BirminghamRailroadLater he worked as a draftsman for theBirmingham Railway Discharged in 1841---he returned home to DerbySunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith6Bolender 7. Herbert SpencerNext few years published several articlesin the radical press The Proper Sphere of GovernmentArgued for an extreme restriction of the scope ofgovernment The whole field of human activity (except for policing)should be left to private enterprise There are no poor laws, no national education, noestablished church, no restrictions on commerce, and nofactory legislationSunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith7Bolender 8. Herbert SpencerIn 1850, he finished his first book, Social Statics Based on the theme in The Proper Sphere of Government Creed of laissez faire His 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 FederalReserve (in the United States) in fine tuning theeconomy via changing interest rates.Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith8Bolender 9. Herbert SpencerThe basic argument of Social Statics can bestated as follows: Human happiness can be achieved onlywhen individuals can satisfy their needs and desires without infringing on the rightsof others to do the same. (Turner, Beeghley, and Powers 1998:45-46)Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith9Bolender 10. Herbert Spencer Each member of the race. . .must not onlybe endowed with faculties enabling him to receive the highest enjoyment in the act of living, but must be so constituted that hemay obtain full satisfaction for everydesire, without diminishing the power ofothers to obtain like satisfaction: nay, tofulfill the purpose perfectly, must derive pleasure from seeing pleasure in others. (Spencer [1850] 1888:448)Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith10Bolender 11. Herbert SpencerThe Developmental Hypothesis 1852, seven years prior to Darwins Origin of Species Expounded and advocated a theory of evolutionSunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith11Bolender 12. Herbert SpencerIn 1853 he received a sizable inheritancefrom his uncles estateFrom then on he lived the life of a privatescholarA lifelong bachelor living frugally invarious lodgings and rooming houses inLondonSunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith12Bolender 13. Herbert SpencerAround 1854, Spencer suffered from anervous illness--at times unable toconcentrate, write, or even to read Attempted to overcome acute insomnia with heavy doses of opium He eventually retreated from society, became a semi-hermitSunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith13Bolender 14. Herbert SpencerPrinciples of Biology (several volumes 1864-1867) Textbook used at OxfordThe Study of Sociology (1873) Textbook used at Yale UniversityWilliam Graham Sumner taught Spencerism at YalePrinciples of Psychology (two volumes 1870-1872) Textbook used at Harvard UniversitySunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith14Bolender 15. Herbert Spencer Throughout his life Spencer refused nearlyall honors offered him by universities, the government, or scientific bodies. He hadno official position and no universitydegree. Yet during the last quarter of thecentury he enjoyed an internationalreputation and influence almostcomparable to that of Charles Darwin.(Coser 1977:107)Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith15Bolender 16. Herbert SpencerParadigm: OrderClass of Theories: Organicism Societal EvolutionSocial Darwinism (Turner 1998:80) Society is akin to a special organism obeying its own laws of progress. Platonic ThemeThe natural order of all societies is one ofhierarchy.(Perdue 1986:47)Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith16Bolender 17. Herbert Spencer Almost a decade before Darwinpublished On the Origin of Species , Spencer coined the phrase survival of the fittest.Spencers Social Statics [1850]Spencer had used the phraseearlier when writing articles fornewspapers. (Turner 1998:80, 85)Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith17Bolender 18. Herbert Spencer. . .Spencer had made the connectionbetween biology and sociology.(Turner 1998:80)This is a profound statement. A large segment of sociological thought is closelyaligned with biology--especially in ecological themes.Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith18Bolender 19. Herbert SpencerComte had allied sociology with biology, arguing that in the hierarchy of the sciences, sociology would emerge from biology and become the queen science.Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith19Bolender 20. Herbert SpencerBut 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)Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith20Bolender 21. Herbert SpencerSurvival Similarities in Social andBiological SystemsProduction of life-sustaining substancesReproduction of system partsRegulation and control of actions bysystem partsDistribution of information and materialsamong system units(Turner 1998:80)Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith21Bolender 22. Herbert SpencerThe sociological concept of progress waselevated by Spencer. The evolution of society involves increasing complexity of social structure and associate culturesymbols, and this complexity increases the capacity of the human species to adapt and survive in its environment.(Turner 1998:81)Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith22Bolender 23. Herbert Spencer Evolution, that is, a change from a state ofrelatively indefinite, incoherent, homogeneity to at state of relativelydefinite, coherent, heterogeneity, was toSpencer that universal process, which explains . . .those latest changes whichwe trace in society and the products ofsocial life. (Coser 1977:89)Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith23Bolender 24. Herbert Spencer Spencer argued, that the evolution ofhuman societies, far from being differentfrom other evolutionary phenomena, is but a special case of a universally applicablenatural law. Sociology can become a science only when it is based on the ideaof belief in a social order not conforming to natural law, survives. (Coser 1977:90)Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith24Bolender 25. Herbert Spencer Spencers most fruitful use of organicanalogies was his notion that withevolutionary growth come changes in any units structure and functions, that increases in size bring in their wake increases in differentiation. (Coser 1977:90)Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith25Bolender 26. Herbert SpencerEvolution-- Unilinear orMultilinear ?Sunday, October 21, 2012 1999-2006 by Ronald Keith26Bolender 27. Herbert SpencerThe earlier Spencer indicated a unilinearmodel of evolution--a straightforwardprogressive march.The mature Spencer indicated thatregression was possible (influenced bywhat he saw in England toward the end ofthe