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How is Webers view of the class structure different to Marxist theory?

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Nishtar Hussain How is Weber?s view of the class structure different to Marxist theory? In our contemporary society, the definition of ?class? has been a widely, disputed matter. There have been two main theories and explanations of ?class?, they describe what factors determine social class as well as what it would mean society. The two predominant classifications are by Karl Marx and Max Weber. In this essay I plan to examine these two theories of class and how their notions differ from one another. Karl Marx?s philosophy of ?class? was that there were two characterisations of social class, the ruling class and the lower, subject class. Marx defined these two classifications as the ?bourgeoisie? and the ?proletariat? or in much simpler terms ?capitalists? and the ?working-class?. Sociologist Tony Bilton (1996) explained that Marxist theory outlined that the bourgeoisie use a mode of production in the form of capitalism to suppress the proletariat (working class). ...read more.


This may be epitomised by Marx?s theory of the nature of ownership and production in a capitalist society. To summarise from this Marx?s theory overall outlines that an individual?s relationship to the means of production, defines their social class mutually within the workplace and in society. Max Weber has a different approach on social stratification; he does have this mutual understanding with Marx?s idea that social inequality is the inevitable result of class relations between two groups of people. As having mentioned already, the bourgeoisie hold the means of production and the proletariat own nothing, as a result of this, one class (bourgeoisie) have the ability to dominate the other. On the contrary, Weber does not agree to an extent that this division is applicable to everyday society. He believed that the social stratification and inequality are contingent on the classification of three categories; class, status and party. ...read more.


The final category is ?party?, this term is associated with organisations in which the individual is part of, in contrast to communities or groups, they are involved in striving for a goal in an intentional manner. They are connections of people that attempt to influence social action. Weber specified that a party should consist of three major elements, i.e. it should develop a rational structure and formal organisation and employ administrative staff. To conclude from this; the most significant difference is obviously how each of the sociologist perceives class, the Webarian theory focusses on status as well as other social factor which could come into place, such as; occupation, education, culture (popular or high) which influence social inequality. Whereas, the Marxist theory concludes that economic status and proprietorship are much more significant. Also to take into consideration would be the similarities, the two sociologists do agree upon the division between the wealthy & the poor, as well as the complexity of moving in and out of the class structure. ...read more.

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