Theories of social stratification marx weber


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Theories of social stratification marx weber

  1. 1. Theories of Social Stratification Statements by Marx and Weber
  2. 2. What is a theory? Theory: a specific statement or interrelated set of statements designed to explain some particular phenomenon Theory should be evaluated on the extent to which it explains the phenomena in question and can be empirically tested.
  3. 3. Value Assumptions Value assumptions in theories of social stratification: 1.     Degree to which stratification is inevitable 2.     Optimistic vs. Pessimistic view of human nature 3.      Theory vs. Praxis
  4. 4. Karl Marx (1818 – 1893)
  5. 5. Communist-Socialism and the End of Human Conflict Marx said: Communism would be the end of human conflict. Why? Communism takes away conflict over economic goods and services through communal ownership. In sum, communism would eliminate the main reason why people and groups conflict.
  6. 6. Mode of Production Mode of production = A society’s combined level of technological development combined with the overall organization of its economy, including the division of labor. Consists of Means of Production and Relations of Production Means of Production asks “How does the society produce goods and services?” Consists of (1)  Technology and (2)  Society’s physical environment (landlocked, sea-based, etc.)
  7. 7. Mode of Production Mode of production = A society’s combined level of technological development combined with the overall organization of its economy, including the division of labor. Consists of Means of Production and Relations of Production Relations of production asks “Who owns and controls society’s resources?” Consists of (1) Forms of ownership and (2) Relationships between groups
  8. 8. Marx and Social Change How does social change occur? Societies change by resolving their “internal contradictions.”   Mode of Production   Type of Society Means Form of Ownership Degree of Inequality 1. Primitive           Communism H/G Collective Low 2.  Ancient Society Agriculture Private High 3.  Feudalism Agriculture Private High 4.  Capitalism Industrial Private High 5.  Socialism Industrial Collective Low
  9. 9. Transition to Socialism       Although society’s means of production remains the same, the economy itself has contradictions to resolve: Private ownership of the means of production. monopoly capitalism = growing accumulation of wealth in a few hands. capitalism demands that profits put ahead of “humanity.”       Workers will see they are being exploited, realize their interests, and rebel.
  10. 10. A Polish citizen is trying to protest against the Communist regime; he throws leaflets around Plac Zamkowy. Secret Police agents arrest and question him, then they observe that there was nothing on the papers: they were all plain white. The Secret Police agents ask him why the papers are white. The prisoner replies: "It's obvious anyway, why should I write it down?"
  11. 11. Marx and Class Class position is rooted in the relationship to the means of production. Unidimensional view of stratification, two-strata conception of class: Bourgeoisie = owns and controls Proletariat = does not own and control Relations between bourgeoisie and proletariat characterized by exploitation: Exploitation = an economic process that occurs when one party compels another to give up more than it receives in return. In capitalism, the bourgeoisie exist and enjoy a common lifestyle BECAUSE of their exploitative relationship with the proletariat.
  12. 12. Max Weber (1864 – 1920) Differences between Weber and Marx: Weber read Marx and sought to elaborate on some of his ideas. Weber had many ideas of his own, though. Weber attributed social change much more to changes in the ideological superstructure. Many of Weber’s theories have an ideological conception of history.
  13. 13. Weber’s Conception of Class A grouping in which (1)   A number of people have in common a specific causal component of their life chances, (2)    Insofar as this component is represented exclusively by economic interests in the possession of goods and opportunities for income, (3)    And is represented under the conditions of the commodity or labor market.
  14. 14. Weber’s Conception of Class Note:     Economic basis for determining class position, a la Marx.       Includes position in the labor market, unlike Marx.      However, Weber argues that property includes both your material goods AND your labor skills. So, like Marx, Weber believes that class position is dependent on ownership and control of “property.”
  15. 15. Status Status = the degree of deference (respect) accorded to an individual or group. Weber thought of status as “social honor”:       Your status situation is often related to your class position.       Both the propertied and the non-propertied may enjoy a similar status situation. Both professional basketball players and nuclear physicists have high prestige, yet they are in different class positions (see Weber’s definition of class).       Status inconsistency is when your class position is not in-line with your status position. For instance, you are African American middle class and are discriminated against by realty companies and subtly barred from buying a home in a white neighborhood (or are targeted for subprime loans).       Status position may preclude entry into a class position. This is best seen in our discussions on gender and race/ethnicity.
  16. 16. PartyParty.. Power = the probability a person or a group has to realize their will despite the resistance of others. Parties are social groups that share similar power capacities. To Weber, parties represent the interests of those with similar class and/or status situations. Parties act to acquire more power or influence the actions of others. e.g. When business professionals in a capitalist society vote for certain political parties in a certain way, they constitute a “party.” e.g. When parents in a middle class suburb argue that creationism and evolution should be taught in high school biology classes, they constitute a “party.”
  17. 17. Legitimation of Authority Three Ideal Types of Authority 1. Traditional: Authority entirely comes from the fact authority has always rested in that person or position. 2. Charismatic: Contrasted with traditional authority. The authority of charismatics resides entirely in their personal attributes. Weber argues that these are people who present themselves as people who possess “special gifts,” almost or exactly supernatural. Their position is predicated on the continuing proof of their special powers. 3. Legal-Rational: Authority by codified law. Whomever holds the position is entitled to authority and carries with them the capacity for power. Usually held in bureaucracies.