In the years since the life and times of Emile Durkheim (1858–1917) and Max Weber (1864–1920), the world’s economic systems and related social structures have undergone profound transformations. Probably more than any other single invention or technological innovation in recent decades, the Internet has transformed societies profoundly, propelling the Information Revolution to unprecedented heights. This paper examines the major sociological theories of Durkheim and Weber, assessing their relevancy and applicability to contemporary social structures that have been dramatically transformed by the ongoing Information Revolution. How would Durkheim and Weber react to the ubiquitous presence of the Internet, e-mail, social networking websites, “smart” cell phones, and other information technologies in today’s world? Using the theories of Durkheim and Weber as a guide, this paper will evaluate the societal implications of information technologies in general and the Internet in particular, focusing on changing structures of authority, social solidarity, interpersonal relations, and the economy. Durkheimian and Weberian perspectives will be applied to several of the most perplexing questions facing the increasingly digitized world of the 21st century.
|Keywords:||Internet, Cyberspace, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Social Networks, Information Revolution, Industrial Revolution|
Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Iowa Central Community College, Fort Dodge, IA, USA
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