Voluntary Acts, Sociology Of

Sociologists frame voluntary acts within the relation of individual action and social structure. They have studied this relation for variables such as social class, ethnicity, and gender, as well as with respect to topics such as socialization processes, interaction contexts, and culture. In general, the approaches vary between social determinism and mediating positions, balancing the relative strength of social determinism and individual volition.

Most classical sociologists emphasized the importance of structure over agency. Karl Marx (1818–1883), for example, stressed man's alienation from work and society, causing his alienation to himself. On a different note, Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) argued for the centrality of social facts over individual volition: sentiments, moralities, and behaviors could be explained as social facts linked to objective features such as social organization, ...

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