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Ideological Differences Involving Social Stratification

Essay by   •  March 28, 2012  •  Essay  •  741 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,568 Views

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The subject of social stratification has been the spark of many debates about how and why societies are dissonant. While some societies erect a whole culture around these predefined confinements, some societies will cry that they are blatantly classless. Groups within society will even inform other groups that they are in an abnormally disadvantaged position because of all the other groups' advantaged stance. Individuals will brutally point out that they are from one class when others have said differently. Whatever judgments one may conjuror about their stratification, there are two writers whose legacy will continue to stand astride studying social class: Max Weber and Karl Marx.

For Marx, economics and class play a huge role in how an individual fits into the rhythm of modern capitalist society. Simply put, he believed two main classes exist: the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie is composed of people who own property, factories, and production intended to exploit the proletariat. Marx vouched that the point of capitalist society was devised in order to enhance this idea including the society's infrastructure. One of the most important support mechanisms regarding the bourgeoisie dealt with the creation of a false class-consciousness for the proletariat. "In its crudest form, false consciousness implies a misperception of reality, or of one's relationship to the world of which one is part"(Apperley). Class-consciousness essentially entails members of the same class who develop a common identity and recognize their shared interest, with the end result being unity and the insight that only collective action will overthrow the bourgeoisie. It seems to Marx, class is dependent on the conflict between different economic groups. Being that the society's infrastructure and the bourgeoisie compose one side as the proletariat on the other, all relations between the two classes are economic and therefore there will be little chance to move from one class to another.

Weber in contrary protested that social stratification was not about economics alone. Instead he thought that classes envelop into market economies in which people compete for economic gain. According to Weber, a person's class situation is basically their market situation. Their market situation will directly affect their chances of obtaining those things defined as desirable in society, for example access to higher education, good quality housing and health care. Like Marx, Weber argued that the major class division is among those who possess the means of production and those who do not. Webster also important noted differences in the market situation within society. Different occupations and skills are judged as having different market values therefore other factors than ownership can aspire social stratification. Although economic class forms one possible building block for group formation, collective action and the influence

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