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Critically evaluate Marx's analysis of socialclass.

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Critically evaluate Marx's analysis of social class. Marx considered that social class was an economic phenomenon deriving from the different ownerships of the means of production, 'the way jobs are used to produce wages and land to produce food and fuel constitutes the means of production (lands and capital).'1 All human beings, according to Marx, must employ the means of production; as a result, social class has been seen into two separate groups: one is the ruling class-a class owns and controls the means of production, also known as bourgeoisie. The other is called the subject class, they have no means of production apart from selling their labour power to the bourgeoisie, and Marx called it the proletariat. 'Only one class are owners of the means of production, while the other is subject to those who rule over them.'2 A fundamental class conflict between labour and capital due to the exploitation and oppressed given by the ruling class to the working class people exist within this kind of production relationships, described by Marx as the base (infrastructure) and superstructure. Obviously, infrastructure here refers to the basic economic production means, and the superstructure, includes all other major aspects of society, such as politics, education, intellectual and religious life and so on...can be roughly divided into the state (government, civil service, judiciary) and ideological institutions (e.g. ...read more.


Since Weber believed a variety of ways to express dissatisfactions of individual workers are possible. Indeed, Weber observes about social class has made significant advances beyond Marx. Weber claimed the most important changes taken placed in modern capitalism of social classes would be: class, status and party. > Class: related to inequalities that have their source in the working of capitalism and the market place. For Weber a person's class is related directly to his/her 'market situation'. > Status: is to do with inequalities which relates to the way in which individuals judge one another and relate to other people. > Party: is related to the concepts of politics in the very broadcast sense; people form groups to look after their shared interest12. Apart from the market situation, work situation and status situation have also been involved in Weber's work and he sees the three elements as equally important separate aspects of social stratification, unlike Marx who supposes that they are closely related. Seeing that Marx failed to give comments on status, Weber considers status is outside the market and characterised by lifestyles, tastes and patterns of consumption. Individuals within the same status group will share habits and the pursuit of social esteem. It is much a thing about the unequal distribution of social respect. Status is seen as a special symbol to people, a different honour which enables high status group of member be able to monopolize status privileges. ...read more.


It proved the correction of Weber's idea about the place of the middle class in society. Under the reality of the existence of an increase trend of white collar unionism, class conflicts which based on the struggle over scarce resources to some extent have been institutionalised. Trade unions in the represent of employees will have a 'collective bargaining' with the employers associations. Proletarian revolution could not take place when there is a lack of the increase in antagonism occurred during the rise of modern capitalism. In conclusion, since the analysis of class divisions and struggles are especially important in developing an understanding of the nature of social structure. Marx's standpoints recognised the significance of conflict between social groupings and successfully distinguished social classes stratification rooted from the different ownerships of the means of production under capitalism. His contribution to social class therefore provided a good start and gave a general guide to contemporary sociologists. 'It is useful to look at Marx's analysis of class and class structure as representing a sort of underlying skeletal structure, and that he makes very good case that we should see capitalist society as inherently contradictory.'18 When many sociologists nowadays come across to capitalism or communism, almost everyone has to refer to Marx's work of social classes. It although wrongly to assume that Marx's categorisation was not quite so simple, Weber's definition, which drew nearly half century later than Marx, can better serve contemporary statements and especially as a critical evaluation of Marx. ...read more.

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