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Discuss Weber's account of Class and Status.

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Introduction

Discuss Weber's account of Class and Status Max Weber was a 19th century German scholar, his writings are best known for their historical grasp of western societies and their economic, political and religious development [Morrison, 1995:213]. He had distinctly modernist emphasis to his studies, focussing on formation of bureaucracy and development of the modern state to name a few examples. Although influenced by many great thinkers the theme that prevails in Weber's work (especially where concerning capitalism) is that of Karl Marx, Weber opposed many of Marx's beliefs, which spurred Weber's development of forming completely different opinion concerning the role of history in social development [Morrison, 1995:214]. Weber's view on stratification1 of society, which he developed in the early 1900s, is far more complicated than Marx's2. According to Weber there are three levels of stratification, these are class, status and power. This essay will focus on how Weber defined class and status and more importantly how they differ from each other. Although the common conception is status and class are interchangeable words, which both refer to the same ambiguous entity, Weber strongly iterates that they are not and both have clear separate meanings. ...read more.

Middle

opportunities to obtain specific types of income on the market (e.g. lawyers, entertainers)3. That is, those having similar economic interests with respect to particular markets are in a similar position. Weber notes "The typical chance for a supply of goods, external living conditions, and personal life experiences, in so far as this chance is determined by the amount and kind of power, or lack of such, to dispose of goods or skills for the sake of income in a given economic order". "A group of people in a similar situation they correspondingly have their life chances determined more or less in common, by a factor that strongly affects this, therefore"4 Weber argues that owners are in a better position to benefit from what they have than are non-owners, because the propertied can increase their life chances by profitable deals and increasing their monopoly whereas the other main class can increase their life chances by selling their services on the market; the profitability of this is determined by the market conditions. Thus, classes tend to fall along the lines of owners and non-owners (i.e. labourers) 4. Each of these can then be broken up by the type of ownership and type of service they provide. ...read more.

Conclusion

that will always be present. This is due how Weber stratified society into three, class, status and power, both class and status are vehicles for exuding power over the socially "weak" classes and extending the power of the economically dominant. Although the two will always be intrinsically linked, you cannot have status without class nor vice verse, in Weber's view every society is divided into status groups with distinctive life-styles and views of the world, just as it is divided into distinctive classes. In modern society Weber's stratification of society is far more appropriate than Marx's, the detail and separation he creates an accurate view of society that transcends time to still be applicable to analysing today's culture. Books Morrison, Ken. (1995) Marx, Durkheim, Weber - Formations of Modern Social Thought, Sage Weber, Max. (1978) Economy and Society, University of California Press Websites Max Weber: I. Class, Status, Party www.soc.sbs.ohio-state.edu/classes/ Soc488/Moody/class_notes/Weber.htm 1/12/03 Multiple Sources of Power - Class, Status, and Party www.uregina.ca/~gingrich/o2302.htm 1/12/03 Max Weber www.cf.ac.uk/socsi/undergraduate/introsoc/mweber.html 2/12/03 1 Stratification - The act or process or arranging persons into classes 2 Website - Max Weber 3 Website - Multiple Sources of Power - Class, Status, and Party 4 Website - Max Weber: I. Class, Status, Party 5. Website - Multiple Sources of Power - Class, Status, and Party Sarah Spooner Page 1 5/8/2007 ...read more.

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