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

Is It Useful To Distinguish Between Three Distinct Ways In Which Society Is Stratified ( Class, Status, Power) As Wever Does?

Extracts from this document...


IS IT USEFUL TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THREE DISTINCT WAYS IN WHICH SOCIETY IS STRATIFIED ( CLASS, STATUS, POWER) AS WEVER DOES? It is important to make a distinction between social inequality and social stratification before beginning. The term 'social inequality' simply refers to the existence of socially created inequalities. Social stratification is a particular form of social inequality. Social differences become social stratification when people are ranked hierarchically along some dimension of inequality, whether this is income, wealth, power, prestige, age, ethnicity or some other characteristic. Members of the various strata which constitute each level of the stratification hierarchy tend to common life chances and life styles and may display an awareness of communal identity, and these characteristics further distinguish them from the other strata's. Clearly, as the egalitarian society remains a dream, all human societies, from the simplest to the most complex, has some form of social inequality. Power, prestige and wealth is distributed unevenly between individuals and social groups. From their different images of society, the founding fathers of sociology had conceptualised the nature of social stratification in entirely different ways. Durkheim concentrated on the functional division of labour and regarded differential remuneration as a reflection of differentially useful contributions to society. ...read more.


On the other hand, the bourgeois are dependent on the proletariat for production. However, the mutual dependency between the two classes is not a relationship of equal or symmetrical reciprocity. Instead, it is a relationship of the exploiter and the exploited, the oppressor and the oppressed. In particular the bourgeois gains at the expense of the labourers, and there is therefore a conflict between them. Marx's theory of stratification was thus linked to the capitalist economy and was dependent only on the economic positions of individuals or social groups. Weber differed only marginally from Marx when he defined as a class a category of men who 'have in common a specific causal component of their life chances in so far as this component is represented exclusively by economic interests in the possession of goods and opportunities for income, and it is represented under the conditions of the commodity or labour market'. He was even fairly close to Marx's view, though not necessarily to those of latter-day Marxists, when he stated that class position does not necessarily lead to class-determined economic or political action. He argued that communal class action would emerge only if and when the "connections between the causes and the consequences of the 'class situation' " become transparent. ...read more.


He shows that the basis from which such power can be exercised may vary considerably according to the social context, that is, historical and structural circumstance. Hence, where the source of power is located becomes for Weber an empirical question, one that cannot be answered by what he considers Marx's dogmatic emphasis on one specific source. Moreover, Weber argues, men do not only strive for power to enrich themselves. 'Power, including economic power, may be valued 'for its own sake.' Very frequently the striving for power is also conditioned by the social 'honour' it entails.' Having looked at all three - class, status and power, is it really more useful to distinguish between them when explaining social stratification? Weber's theories on social stratification are far from being clear-cut. He just states the various hierarchies lead to the from of various social groups, but does not pin point anything definite. Just as status groups can both divide and cut across class boundaries, hold on power also can divide and cut across classes and status groups. Weber's analysis of classes, status groups and power suggests that no single theory can pin point and explain their relationship. Thus, I feel that, while examining social stratification, it is better to reconcile these three different ways of stratification - class, status and power, instead of trying to distinguish between them. ...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. Compare and Contrast Marx and Weber's view on Stratification

    Their market situation will directly affect their chances of obtaining those things defined as sought-after in society such as higher education, good quality housing and health care. However, Weber went on to develop a multifaceted and more intricate view of society. Social stratification is not merely a matter of class.

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

    Foucault argues that power can not be held by 'the people' anymore than it can by politicians or powerful business people. Moreover because power can not be held by groups or individuals Foucault rarely writes about Puissance which "designates something lasting and permanent."

  1. Gender as a form of Social Stratification.

    Institutions promote the values of the dominant culture. There is probably less variation in what children learn from schooling than what they learn as a result of informal interactions with the family or friends. For non-white people, family and cultural identity is seen as a necessary tool to counteract the


    In all known cases of inter-caste relationships and marriages, each are frowned upon and majority of the time, parties involved face serious punishment if caught. Looking at education, many members of the lower caste are illiterate and uneducated. Sometimes education isn't even an option because the families are so poor that they require as much income they can get.

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

    The report called for an increase in welfare benefits, specifically for older people and single parents who, it is thought, do not receive adequate financial support for food and services necessary for good health. This opinion was echoed in a further report, published by the British Medical Association in June

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

    Weber concentrated on an individual's market value, what things the individual did to acquire and deserve rewards. Whereas class was such a generalisation of people, it defined them only by economic constraints, not their social honour. Weber's market value identified and recognised the individual as an individual, rather than as Marx's faceless and nameless member of a mass class.

  2. Crime and Social class - Hypothesis - 'There is a relationship between social ...

    The main feature in my secondary Data collection is the Marxist view. Primary Data This is one of my interviews. Is crime bad in your area? Yes, it's very bad. Whom do you blame? The parents for not bringing the parents up properly.

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