SOCIAL THEORY DINNER – PAIRING OF THEORISTS (Karl Max and W. E.B Dubois, Patricia Hill Collins and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Max weber and Erving Goffman, and Emile Durkheim and Jean Baudrillard)


SOCIAL THEORY DINNER – PAIRING OF THEORISTS (Karl Max and W. E.B Dubois, Patricia Hill Collins and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Max weber and Erving Goffman, and Emile Durkheim and Jean Baudrillard)

During the social theory dinner assignment I decided to pair up the theorists as follows;

  • Karl Max and W. E.B Dubois
  • Patricia Hill Collins and Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Max weber and Erving Goffman
  • Emile Durkheim and Jean Baudrillard

The pairing of the social theorists was based on the following;

Karl Max is social theorist who outlines the antagonistic classes in society and the capitalistic nature. Through the growth of the capitalistic nature he aptly defines the stages a society goes through from independent to a social structure.  On the other hand, W.E.B du Bois is an advocate of the progress of the Black race. He believed that through constant struggle, delayed gratification and empowerment, the Blacks could finally be at par with the whites in matters rights and privileges.  The pairing of Max and Dubois helps apty discuss the matter of the racial wealth gap

Patricia Hill Collins is a feminist social theorist. Through the development of the intersectionality theory; she addresses the social challenges that have emerged as a result of the variance in gender, race, and sexism issues. She champions for the advancement of the black women rights. On the other hand, Charlotte Perkins G is an utopian educationist who championed for the female empowerment through education.   Charlotte has over the years recorded the feminist movement. The two social theorists will tackle the issues of modern day womanhood.

Max weber is a proponent of the bureacrautic concept in socialization. In his studies, he advocates the need for bureaucratic applications in business operations. The formalization and normalization of business operations would lead to the eventual development in the economy. Theorist Erving Goffman articulates the concept of  self-performer who is socially construed. Throughout his writings, Goofman brings out the morality in the society which can be manipulative through moral standards. The pairing of the two theorists will help look into the challenges of the Bureaucratic operations in the modern world. Each person shall present views that shall help the reader to perceive the actuality of the topic from the theorist perception.

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Emile Durkheim emerges as social realism theorist. He develops the idea of the “group mind”. Every idea should be thought of as it applies to the whole group and not just to one individual person. Jean Baudrillard is a social theorist who uses the concept of hyper realism in contextual reference to the modern world. The two writers would discuss the concept of consumerism and culture. Each theorist will help the reader look into the manner in which culture affects the consumerism ability.

 It’s a cool evening, all the tables have been set. The host has given the welcome pleasantries. The visitors can be seen actively enganged in conversations as some soft music is playing in the background. Max and Dubois are the occupants of table one.

 The Racial Wealth Gap

America is a nation that comprises of nationalities from different countries. Intermarriage has fueled the growth of African- American citizens. Since the ancient neo-colonial times there has been a disparity between the white and Black Americans. The Racial Wealth Gap is ideal in finding out the causation factors for the variance in wealth. Karl Max will help in addressing the social classes issues that could have contributed to the problem while Du Bois will shed light on the inequalities that the African- Americans are subjected to that derail their social growth.

Max; The American society has grown over the years. The intercultural mixing helps in the diffusion of social prejudices. However, one integral component of the American society is the different social classes.  Each class denotes a specific economic ability. When will these inequalities come to an end? Max quipped?

 Du Bois; Its interesting that the society that portrays itself as much developed has still age-old inequalities today. Du Bois stated that he could not sufficiently answer the question posed Max. However, He stated that the progress among the Black must Happen (Johnson and Watson, 2004). He asserted that the progress though happening in a slow pace must eventually happen. What African- Americans need is more equal-opportunities, and resources for growth.

Max; Max stated that each class of citizens are predestined to certain life conditions. He outlined that the lack of progress in the job positions due to limited opportunities in the education sector. Also, he stated that the past inequalities have given rise to the wealth gap in the society.

Du Bois; He explained that income levels are crucial in overcoming the racial wealth disparity. If Job opportunities with the same remuneration as whites were presented to the Blacks then the racial disparity should be bridged, he said. Additionally, policy development is important in overcoming the racial disparities, he added.

 Max; He continued,” a specific social class should be able to produce goods and get the outcomes of the labor process.” He said that a capitalistic society such as America continues to exploit one race through making labor a commodity that can be bought or sold.”( Fuchs, 2014) . As such, “a society should only achieve wealth parity through avoidance of any element of discrimination.” He concluded.


 The topic help address the concerns as to why despite many bureaucratic like company operations there still is a lot of  ineffectiveness in service delivery. Max weber is fit to discuss the concept since he advocates for bureaucratization in social operations. Erving Goff man will help in bringing out the concept of self in a bureaucratic world. He will help in bringing forth the place of an individual person in a world that is bureaucratic in nature.Especially, in matters of productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

 Goffman; He began the conversation by relating the abilities that lay in mystic union. Individuals can relate well in the workplace and achieve much productivity while maintaining their intrinsic values. He wondered why modern day workplaces contained bureaucratic procedures that undermined the autonomy of an individual person.

Weber; In His response, Weber outlined what he deemed as the nature of bureaucracy. He said” Bureaucratic operations are a form of formalization (Sandro and Carlos, 2019). It helps in bringing order in the society through setting out harmonious ways of performing tasks.  He explained to Goffman the need for creating a standard for carrying out different activities.

 Goofman: Goofman stated that the individual persons are unique in their nature.  He wondered whether the concern in workplaces should be getting the job done or on the technicalities of performing the task.

 Weber; In his response, stated the need for uniformity. There are different tasks that should be performed in specific ways. Especially in production industries; the same procedures should be employed in getting the similar end productS (Sandro and Carlos, 2019).

Goofman; He asked what becomes of an innovative world? A world where solutions are technologically invented to make the work easier and better? Would bureaucracy still stand?

 Weber; He admitted that times have indeed changed. Though bureacraticism helps in formalization of job procedures, innovation is needed for a job to remain technosavvy. As such, Weber admitted the need for autonomy in carrying out of specific tasks. Still, he demonstrated the need to prevent autonomy of employees that could lead to joblessness.

 Modern day Womanhood

 Among the issues facing the society in the previous years was discrimination against women. The discrimination against women was evidenced in all races. Thus, feminists movement arose to fight for the rights of women across social classes. The topic is important in understanding the societal progress in equalization of the men and the women rights.  Charlotte has documented the feminist movements and will help in identification of the progress made. Patricia through the development of the intersectionality theory will help in addressing the social issues that the modern day womanhood entails.

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Charlottes; Women have throughout history been discriminated upon, she started the conversation.  USA has not been different either. Charlotte stated that the inequalities that have been prevalent in the past are denial of access to education opportunities and lack of equal employment opportunities.

 Patricia; She stated the need of creating equal opportunities for both men and women. Also, she expressed her concern that the Black woman is prone to more discrimination due to two factors; she is black, and she is a woman. She stated that activism should help bring a difference in people’s lives (Collins, 2019).

 Charlotte; she stated that activism should not be one-sided affair. The Blacks and Whites lives should both be changed. She wondered why most of the news reports still indicate the harsh social conditions surrounding the black women.  Women need a voice; they need someone who will speak up for them.

 Patricia; In response, Patricia brought forth the idea of intersectionality. She stated, “Intersectionality is the tool of change (Collins, 2019).”  She explained how intersectionality helps in bundling up ideas, and perceptions from a social prejudice like gender discrimination. Also, she related how intersectionality fosters change through the using the shared ideas to formulate a social action.

 Charlotte; she exclaimed at the realism that the intersectionality presented in the management of the issues facing women. The modern women are undergoing a lot of issues especially concerning someone’s background. Charlotte continued to explain how motherhood and womanhood continued to be limiting factors to the autonomy of women (Shahiza and Ravichandran, 2017). To Charlotte, an ideal world is one where the parental duties are not pegged on any individual person. She wondered why the societal did not allow those people with limited experience on womanhood not to take the place of childcare.

 Patricia; She stated that modernization does not translate to social equity. There are many women still struggling under Patriarchal societal mindset. Further along, she narrated the way African- American mindset predisposes women to lower cast in society. The women are expected to balance work with motherhood and wifehood. She narrated that the changing times necessitate a change in mindset and the socialization of the citizens. Women empowerment should entail the employment of nannies to alleviate the emotional and social burden placed on women.

Charlotte; Charlotte seemed to be in a pensive mood. She wondered how the constant growth in the socialism could still poses lack of opportunity in womanhood. The devastating societal expectations of the woman in the 21st century still demonstrate lack of substantial growth in the liberation of womanhood.  She was amazed that Victorian age-old ideals were still practised in the present society (Ozyon, 2019). Charlotte view of freedom is such a natural phenomenon. She wondered why the society still limits the progress of women.

 Patricia; She stated that it is sad that the women are set to undergo many misfortunes in life. However, she said there is hope. “Problems created by human beings can only be solved by human beings (Hills, 2019). She suggested that the critical analysis of social problems facing women could only be overcome through the creation of social changes. Policy formulation would serve as a key factor in determination of rights and ending sexism.

 Charlotte; She stated the social changes that Patricia had mentioned could only be changed through relearning from past mistakes. She said that the first step to Feminist freedom would be to provide equal opportunities for women in society (Ozyon, 2019).  Women should learn all about concepts such as feminism and be equipped to make the social changes. Only, then shall the challenges facing women in the society be completely overcome, she concluded.

Consumerism and Culture

 The mode of consumption of goods and services in a particular society is embedded on the pre-existing culture. As such, this topic is vital in understanding the consumerism in the current hyper real society that is filled with a lot of modernism. Pairing Emile Durkheim and Jean Baudrillard will help the reader to gain insights on the issues facing society based on the idea of the group mind as outlined by Durkheim and Hyper realism as articulated by Jean. The following conversation ensued in the dinner party;

 Durkheim; He stated by stating that the media have been having various reports on consumerism on the different parts of the world. He stated that consumerism affects the manner in which people acquire products and services. He stated that the society behavior depicted the society as a whole phenomenon (Fararo, 2006). His social realism envisions a situation where the community comprises the sum total of its individual members.

 Jean; Jean responds to Durkheim by stating that culture is a far-fetched idea in a pluralistic society. He affirmed that the society is pluralistic in nature (Habib, 2018). The diffusion of people and the interracial engagements produced a new variant from cultural holdings. However, he stated that consumerism could be fueled by the demands and needs of a society.

 Durkheim; In His response , Durkheim states that the groups of people living together and setting clear the standards of living translates to the cultural group. He helped expound on culture as way of life and not necessarily a historical people’s group.

 Jean: Jean admitted indeed the society is a group of people.  He went on to elaborate the past culture and the current cultural activities.  He explained that culture in the past was embodied in the core of a society. Whereas, nowadays culture is simply a collective processes defining how people live.   He went on to elaborate consumerism and culture. He noted, cultural activities are pegged on achieving consumerism products (Hermano, 2010) He explained the objectification of work. It was simply a tool that individuals used in an endeavor to obtain the power of purchasing products.  Jean further along explained that in the beginning work was simply for the purpose of production (Hermano, 2010). “However, in the current hyper society work is pegged to consumption. People work in order to afford their daily needs,” he paused.

Durkheim; “Work productivity is increased due to division of labour (Fararo, 2006).” He began.  He expounded on the manner in which the division of labour brought forth specialization of tasks as well as the legal and penal system. He elaborated in the manner in which the division of work greatly affected the daily relationships (Fararo, 2006). Despite active engagement in work to meet consumption needs social integration should be enhanced through the manner in which work is undertaken, He quipped.


Choice of Theorist

I must admit that the hardest part of this assignment was in pairing up these theorists. A simple look at the name could not help in coming up with the appropriate pairing of the different persons involved. I had to read and re-read their sociological beliefs in order to determine the manner in which the pairing up could be done. The in-depth reading of their social beliefs and assumptions helped in ensuring that the conversations flowed without much of an argument. It helped in ensuring the reader get to view the current happening in the perception of the social theorist. Despite their theories being construed in the past, the pairing up helped the connection of the theories with the current happenings in the world.

Selection of Topics

Topic selection was an additionally complex activity based on the many social issues prevalent in our society.  I penned down the various issues affecting the current common man. Then, I  hierarchically arranged the issues in the matter of urgency. The most pressing issues became the main topic. The assignment of the topics to individual persons was based on the previously addressed issues. In each instance, the theorists offer a proper explanation of the manner in which things occur. Through their insight, the reader can understand some of the social theorist solutions to the current world issues.

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Classic social Theorist Say about the current social world

             The current Social world is not much different from the world that existed in the past. Technological innovations seem to be the only advancements that have fueled the social cohesion of people. I would take each Social Theorist and the way in which they can impact the world.

 Karl Max will help demystify the classes’ issues. He would state that the different economic classes are reflected in the way people live. If someone is not earning much, he would simply live on the basic commodities. Interestingly, he would suggest that even affording those basic commodities at times could be challenge.  He would urge governments to develop policies that would enable the empowerment of the lower caste in the society.

 Du Bois would be simply taken aback by the discrimination of the Blacks that’s still an issue in the current society. He would try an elaborate that all human beings are equal regardless of the color of their skin. He would suggest for policy formulation to help meet up the challenges of the economy.

 Goffman would wonder why mystic union is no longer valid. He would address the issue of individualization and the self-gratification elements evident in the current society. He would look suggest for ways of bringing all individuals together for a common good. Also, he would suggest that the current governments need to shift the focus on the community’s goals.

 Max Weber would admonish the corporate bodies that have used bureaucratic operations for selfish gains. He would bring everyone into understanding of the main goal of bureaucratic operations Formalization of the business operations is not equal in any way to the enslavement of  the employees.

 Charlotte and Patricia would address the issue of feminism as it still remains a contentious issue in the society. They would both advocate for the empowerment of women through availing of the necessary job and educational opportunities. They would suggest that the society shuns Victorian ideals that fosters on female discrimination.

 Durkheim would address the wrongful division of labor that has created inequalities in society. He would help the various personalities divide labor inappropriately making the lower person in the society to suffer a great deal. The labor division reflects positions held rather than the task accomplished. Durkheim would urge companies to rectify on the existing social ills.

 Jean will definitely address the issue of consumerism and culture. He would help to look at the societal happenings in a way that reflects the cultural desire for goods and services. He would look into the issues of commercialization of the labor and desire to meet the basic life needs.

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Personal Response to the Assignment

   Theorist Dinner Party has been a helpful assignment in discovering the connections between the daily issues and the social theorists approach to the issues. It’s been perplexing in understanding the issues underlying many of the societal ills currently. For instance, through an analysis of the racial wealth gap I have realized the disheartening facts that the Blacks community are predisposed to live in a certain way through policy formulations. The only equality weapon used to liberate them thus should only be the formulation of better policies.  The assignment has helped me reflect on the class study in relation to many society issues such as the consumerism and culture. Just as we learnt in Class, consumerism reflects the sociological system in place. As such, it can aptly describe the culture of a people.  The assignment has helped in understanding the various issues in the perspective of a particular person.  The views of Du Bois on the racial wealth gap connotes deep seated issues while  Karl Max still reveals more societal shortcomings that are attributed to the capitalistic nature of a society. Throughout the research, I’ve wondered whether the current situations could be brought to an end. If governments enact the appropriate social change, issues like gender-based discrimination would be a thing of the past. As hyper-realism comes into being, there more pressing issues to address in the society such as information access opposed to the age old fights.  Listening to the conversations of the social theorists it is indeed possible to overcome the social issues.


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Habib, M.M., 2018. Culture and Consumerism in Jean Baudrillard: A Postmodern Perspective. Asian Social Science, 14 (9).

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