• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10

Critically evaluate Marx’s analysis of social class.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Critically evaluate Marx's analysis of social class. Social class, it is a very simple phrase, but it is so hard to define this simple phrase. Various attempts have been made to try to define social class by sociologists. None is completely satisfactory but most make an honest attempt at classification. Basically, most of the sociologists facing this case have their own opinions which are different between each other. Such as Durkheim, Weber and Marx. In this essay I shall take the Marx's analysis of social class as a mail topic and evaluate his view on this topic. How did Marx define class? It is rather ironic that Marx, a man whose name is synonymous with class, and who wrote extensively about class, should never have defined class in a definitive manner. Marx quite often used the term class to refer to quite different groupings of people. Like most terms Marx used class in quite a liberal and perhaps loose manner. however, possible to extract a definition of the concept of class from the writings of Marx. According to Marx a class is determined by its relationship to the means of production. By this what is meant is that a class is determined by its ownership or non-ownership of the means of production, that is, of raw materials, factories and land. ...read more.

Middle

Rather than moving towards a polarization of classes, they argue that class structure of capitalist society has become increasingly complex and differentiated. In particular, a steadily growing middle class has emerged between the proletariat and bourgeoisie. Turing to communist society, critics have argued that history has not borne out the promise of communism contained in Marx's writings. Significant social inequalities are present in communist regimes, and there are few, if any signs of movement towards equality. The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s suggests that the promise of communism has been replaced by the desire for western-style democracies. Particular criticism has been directed towards the priority that Marx assigned to economic factors in this explanation of social structure and social change. Like Marx, Max Weber argued that the major class division is between those who own the forces of production and those who do not. Weber distinguished the following class groupings in capitalist society: 1. The propertied upper class 2. The property less white-collar workers 3. The petty bourgeoisie 4. The manual working class. In his analysis of class, Weber disagreed with Marx on a number of important issues. 1. Factors other than the ownership or non-ownership of property are significant in the formation of classes. ...read more.

Conclusion

In view of these changes, Dahrendorf argued that conflicts were no longer based upon the existence of the two classes identified by Marx, nor were they based upon economic divisions. Instead, Dahrendorf saw conflict as being concerned with authority. In summary, Class, for Marx, is defined as a social relationship rather than a position or rank in society. In Marx's analysis, the capitalist class could not exist without the proletariat, or vice-versa. The relationship between classes is a contradictory or antagonistic relationship, one that has struggle, conflict, and contradictory interests associated with it. The structure and basis of a social class may be defined in objective terms, as groups with a common position with respect to property or the means of production. However, Marx may not be primarily interested in this definition of class. Rather, these classes have meaning in society and are historical actors only to the extent that they do act in their own interests, and in opposition to other classes. Unlike much other sociologists, Marx's classes are defined by class conflict. But according to Marx's view, his view is only comparing with the period which he lived, because of this reason, confines of his view is very limited. It is just like Dahrendorf said that it was no longer valid, actually conflicts were no longer based upon the existence of the two classes identified by Marx, nor were they based upon economic divisions. Instead, conflicts as being concerned with authority. ...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. Karl Marx and Max Weber have different views upon social class in contemporary societies.

    George Bush is the president of U.S.A. that has huge political power in his own country and also in the world, but his income is far less than Bill Gates. A 'status' is any group of people who have similar cultural and social interests and common consumer patterns.

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

    production in any given society. All societies must engage in economic production in order to keep themselves alive and healthy! So we see that Marx makes strong claims regarding the idea of class. He sees class as an essential element of all societies and as an essential aspect of an individual's life.

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

    Instead he frequently mentions "pouvoir which merely denotes the action"(Aron.1964.Cited in Morris,2002.P:xvi) So "Power exists only when it is put into action".(Foucault.1982. Cited in Morris,2002.P:xvii) Foucault agrees with Marx that power works best when it is hidden from view. We are encouraged to think that the government is working for us and keeping us safe.

  2. Are issues of Social Class still relevant in modern society?

    As all teachers know, the children who do the best work, are easiest to control and stimulate, make the best prefects, stay at school longest, take part in extra-curricula activities, finish school with the best qualifications and references and get into the best jobs, tend to come from the middle class..."

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

    lifestyle much like the upper class, sometimes even surpassing them, due to their very high incomes, yet without usually owning the means of production which Marx would claim is the defining character of the upper class. Whereas, Weber attributes their unusually high incomes to their natural skill or talent, not

  2. The Emergence of the Working Class through The Industrial Revolution, 1750-1914, in Europe, UK ...

    The workforce started to see themselves as the working class as they started to realise they were being exploited by their peers/factory owners. The factory owners believed that the most important thing, above everything else, was to make as much money as possibly.

  1. The Hidden Curriculum; Hegemony and Capitalism.

    The education system, as part of the superstructure, therefore, is a reflection of the economic base and serves to reproduce it. This does not mean that education and teaching is a sinister plot by the ruling class to ensure that it keeps its privileges and its domination over the rest of the population.

  2. Southend developed as both a middle class resort and a day trippers paradise. Does ...

    The railway was only used by the middle class, as the day-trippers, which were of a lower status in society only started visiting Southend in 1875 when the cheap fair was introduced, which was 2s 6d. The carriages in the lower class section of the train were obviously of a

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