uses citizenship rights to promote integration as many individuals can claim
citizenship rights without the need to identify with the rest of the community
in a different way. Therefore, rights form the core mode of inclusion in
the community. The attainability of rights leads to emancipation of people and
facilitates their integration in the society.1
Moreover, democracy is defined as a political system that institutionalizes a
plurality of freedoms.
Critical comparison and
The views of both sociologists were
presented in this essay and their theories differ in some aspects, but both see
the correlation between the process of individualization and the creation of
basic rights in the society.
For Marx, individualization begun
to spread after the French Revolution in the
18th century. The breakdown of feudalism and move towards individualism caused
the development of the bourgeois society. He argues that individualization makes
people more focused on private ownership and therefore helps in the creation of
He puts individualism in contrast
to collectivism, where there is a strong emphasis on cohesiveness and on greater
orientation towards the group than self. The well-being of the community is
considered at the expense of the individual. This can be explained on an
example of the progressive taxation that states that an individual with larger
income should pay higher tax. But it would be wrong to imply that Marx does not
recognize an individual, he simply argues that an individual is a part of a
greater collective and emphasises the priority of the community.
Marx says that individualism
emphasises the autonomy of the individual over the community and therefore he
blames individualization for being an accomplice in creating an unjust system.
On the other hand, Parsons
believes in the existence of a value consensus or the existence of shared norms
and values in the society. He believes that this is what holds society
together. He would say that modern society recognise individualism as a shared
norm. People recognise that having individual freedoms and being able to
express ourselves freely is an inevitable part of a democratic system. He
further argues that a strong legal system is a necessary prerequisite to
preserve individual liberties, and therefore the institutionalization of the
legal system is vital for the construction of a democratic political system.
Like Durkheim, he argues that social integration occurs through the exercise of
rights, which connect individual people to the societal community. The law also
has a more formal function in establishing normative preconditions under which
the political system can function. Parsons also highlights the importance of
citizenship and he recognizes citizenship is an important tool of integration.
Comparing the theories of Marx
and Parsons, Marx sees individualization more negatively. He thinks that
individualism is one of the features of the bourgeois society. Hence,
individualism plays a part in creation of rights under capitalism. Parsons, on
the other hand, thinks that individualization is an inevitable feature of the
modern society and should be protected by law. He also argues that as a shared
value it holds the society together. They both have different opinions on what
a social order consists of. For Marx, it is the economic structure, whereas for
Parsons it is the set of social institutions, which are based on shared norms. In
spite of these differences, both sociologists use the positivist approach.
The essay discussed the theories
of both legal sociologists and their opinion on the relation of
individualization and the rise of basic rights. In conclusion, the essay identified the main
differences between both.
Citizenship for the Negro American’ 1039