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Critically evaluate Weber's contention that class, status and party are distinct entities and cannot be resolved under the single concept of class.

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Introduction

Critically evaluate Weber's contention that class, status and party are distinct entities and cannot be resolved under the single concept of class. Weber developed a different approach to the study of social groups and classes than did Marx. According to Marx, there are two primary classes in society: bourgeoisie and proletariat. Marx considers these classes to be defined and determined by whether they own the means of production. Weber agreed with certain fundamental aspects of Marx thought. For Weber, ownership and non-ownership of property was a basic fact in the determination of a class. But there are some significant differences between Weber and Marx. Weber saw class in terms of "market situation". He defined a class that a group of individuals who share a similar position in a market economy and therefore share a similar life-chance in the labour market, including receives similar economic rewards. In contrast to Marx, however, Weber added to the economic dimension of stratification two other dimensions, power (party) and social honor. Property differences generate classes, power differences generate parties; and social honor differences generate status. Class, status and party are there distinct entities for Weber. Weber distinguished four class groupings in capitalist society: the propertied upper class; the propertyless white-collar workers; the petty bourgeoisie and the manual working class. ...read more.

Middle

And different lifestyles have different degree of social honor. Status groups are stratified according to the principles of their consumption of goods as represented by lifestyle. Status groups are usually associated with some restrictions on social intercourse or interaction. That is, there is some degree of closure to outsiders, and the status group exercises some degree of management of relationships of those within the group. Social closure involves the exclusion of some people from membership of a status group. Occupational groups who enjoy certain group-related advantages-such as high incomes, educational advantage and so on-using their resources to sustain their relatively privileged position and exclude others from it. In the higher-status groups there is a considerable degree of self-recruitment. This is a process by which members of a stratum are recruited from the sons of those who already belong to that stratum. Elite self-recruitment involves the economic and culture resources that status groups use to pass their privileges on to their children. Many members of elites attended public schools and went to Oxford or Cambridge University. There are fairly high correlations between standing in the class and in the status order. In capitalist society, the propertied class also acquires high status and in principle propertied and propertyless people may belong to the same status group. ...read more.

Conclusion

So according to Weber, the relationship between party and class and status groups is far from clearcut. In conclusion, there are several differences between Weber and Marx. Marx saw capitalist society as divided into two classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. He argued that men in differnet relations to the means of production naturally have opposed interests. Class is based on ownership and non-ownership for Marx. In conrast to Marx, Weber defined class in terms of market situation. He saw important differences in the market situation of the property less groups. The various skills and services offered by different occupations have different market value. Weber saw a diversification of classes rather than polarization which is held by Marx. He also suggests that disatisfied among the property-less groups can be based on rational motives, and not false consciousness. According to Weber, classes are based on market stuation, status groups refer to social honor, and parties in the sphere of power. So for Weber, class, status and party are distinct entities and cannot be resolved under the single concept of class. Refrences Haralambos and Holborn, 2000, Themes and Perspectives, fifth edition, Published by Harpercollins Publishers Limitied, London Melvin M. Tumin, 1967, Social Stratification, Prentice-Hall, Inc. New Hersey R. K. Kelsall, Helen M. Kelsall, 1974, Stratification, General edition, Longman Group Limited, London Tony Bilton, Kevin Bonnett, Introductory Sociology, The Macmillan press LTD, London Sociology Theory www.src.uchicago.edu/ssrl/PRELIMS/Theory/weber.html Multiple Sources of Power-Class, Status, and Party www.uregina.ca/~gingrich/o2302.htm Weber-The Work-Class,status, and Power www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/DSS/Weber/WEBERW7.HTML ...read more.

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