• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and Contrast Marx and Weber's view on Stratification

Extracts from this document...


200301327 Sociology Essay for Nisrine Mansour Compare and Contrast Marx and Weber's view on Stratification The grouping of people together according to their status within society in relation to the groups they belong to is as old as society itself. Social stratification has been the starting point of many arguments about how and why societies are divided. Sociologists speak of social stratification to describe inequalities that exist between individuals and groups within human societies. Often stratification is thought of in terms of assets and property, but it can occur on the basis of other attributes, such as gender, age or religious affiliation. Karl Marx and Max Weber are two of the most important writers of their times. Their work laid the foundations for many contemporary writers today. In the field of social stratification, there are both similarities and differences in their work. Marx believed that in all stratified societies there are two major social groups: a ruling class and a subject class. Furthermore he states that the principle difference between these groups is the ownership and control of the means of production, which causes a conflict of interest between the two classes. ...read more.


He felt that the basic contradictions contained in a capitalist economic system would lead to its eventual destruction. The proletariat would overthrow the bourgeoisie and seize the means of production, which he saw as the source of power. Property would be communally owned and, since all members of society would now share the same relationship to the means of production, a classless society would result. If we forget the basic contradictions of a capitalist society, Marx believed that there were elements in the natural development of a capitalist economy that would accelerate its downfall-these factors would result in the polarization of the two main classes. I.e. the gap between those who own the means of production and those who work on it would widen and become greater and greater. The work of Max Weber represents one of the most important developments in stratification theory since Marx. Like Marx, Weber saw class in economic terms. He believed that classes develop in market economies in which individuals compete for economic gain. For Weber, a class is a group of individuals who share a similar position in the market economy and by virtue of that receive comparable economic rewards. ...read more.


Marx attempted to reduce all forms inequality to social class and argued that classes formed the only significant groups in society. To the contrary, Weber argued that there exists a more complex interaction of factors when it comes to determining social stratification. It is important to realise that there have been many attempts at explaining social stratification since both Marx and Weber formulated their work. Both Marx and Weber were instrumental in starting the ongoing and increasingly fractured debate concerning social stratification. Contemporary writers have used their writings as a basis for understanding modern social divisions. Both the analysis of gender divisions and race divisions have taken on the views of the above classic theorists, thus trying to undermine the generally accepted view that class and other social divisions are a functional necessity in modern western societies, a false view which ascribes degrees of success via a reward system based upon ones occupational achievements. Social stratification will continue to be a greatly debated matter, but what is clear is that the works of both Karl Marx and Max Weber are instrumental in understanding the key elements to the debate and will provide the fundamental grounding for years to come. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Comparisons and contrasts between the theories of Karl Marx and Max Weber on social ...

    Individuals will use various factors such as Education, Family and Culture so as to achieve the highest wages/salaries possible (Bilton et al., 1996:145) The problem of a Marxist definition of class is that Marx died before he completed his work on 'what constitutes a class'.

  2. Karl Marx and Max Weber have different views upon social class in contemporary societies.

    which could lead to the destruction of capitalism. Weber argued that political power does not ecessarily derive from economic power. Some example would sufficiently prove it. Bill Gates is the richest person all over the world, but he is only a business man that has little political power.

  1. Compare and contrast Karl Marx's and Michel Foucault's analysis of the concept power.

    What characterises these power struggles between different fields, institutions bureaucracies and other groups, such as the media and other businesses, is that they are not set in stone.

  2. Gender as a form of Social Stratification.

    The effects of this can be seen in any study of senior management, which shows that white males dominate the senior positions, with a few white females. There are so few non-white senior managers of either sex that they do not make up any meaningful statistic.

  1. Compare and contrast two of the perspectives - Marx & Weber

    E.g.:- Employers > Employees and Lords > Serfs He believed only labour produces wealth and in the capitalist society this wealth is created by the working class, but the owners of the means of production take most of this wealth and pay the workers wages far below the actual value that they create.

  2. What are the major dimensions of social stratification?

    These four main perspectives are the Functionalist perspective, the New Right perspective, the Marxist perspective and the Weberian perspective. The work of Karl Marx and Max Weber were the most important in the development of stratification. Weber's work, however, because of its accuracy and its reason, was more important than Marx.

  1. Compare and Contrast 'Overcoat' By Ghulam Abbas and 'The Blue Donkey' By Suniti Namjoshi ...

    The donkey confused then said: 'I am a perfectly good donkey' The donkey didn't mind being blue and eating pink carrots although this troubled the red bridge society as the carrots clashed horribly with the bright red bridge and they spitefully told the blue donkey that they didn't want a bright blue donkey living near the red bridge.

  2. I will examine the social class theories of Karl Marx and Max Weber, and ...

    Their market value equals their economic gain. Market value is defined by their ability to market themselves to a particular job opportunity. For instance, a university degree makes an individual more marketable and as such they have greater chances to work in their preferred field.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work