• 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
  11. 11
    11

Who won their debate - Miliband or Poulantzas?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

WHO WON THEIR DEBATE - MILIBAND OR POULANTZAS? The debate between Miliband and Poulantzas revolves around the difference between the basic ontological positions behind methodological individualism and methodological collectivism, which affect the ways in which they approached the question of whether, 'Is there still a Ruling Class?'. In their widely publicised exchange Miliband and Poulantzas debated 'the important questions of method and substance which Miliband's book (The State in Capitalist Society) raised for Marxist theory.' [Blackburn, 1973:238] In his book Miliband presented an account of the relationship between the state and the capitalist economy and class structures in such a society. This text was not aimed at advancing political science beyond where pluralist, elitist and Marxist analysis had previously taken it. It was Miliband's contribution to the delegitimisation of the capitalist state. Although in his article Poulantzas does point out the many merits of Miliband's book, he however agrees to disagree. He criticises Miliband's approach in general. Both these men study social stratification, but Miliband investigates social stratification by observing the different class members and their actions. Poulantzas on the other hand, studies social stratification through observing the surface manifestations of institutional relationships. ...read more.

Middle

These elites consisted a single homogenous ruling class. At the same time, methodological individualism was also reducionist because it assumes that every institution can be reduced to individuals even when they are apparently non-people such as - state, army etc, but they too can be reduced to a string of individuals. Similarly the state, bureaucracy will be seen to be having interpersonal relationships between its members from the ties between them mentioned earlier. As Miliband says in 'The State in a Capitalist Society', the bureaucratic elites in terms of social origin are all drawn from the worlds of business, property or professional middle classes. [Miliband, 1969: 66] The methodological individualism approach is also dispositional. By dispositional, it is meant that 'there is no social trend, which exists, which could not be reversed by those there present provided they had the information and the will - so examine what they think and want.' [Archer, 2004] Miliband in this case reverses the argument that the ruling class does not exist any longer since the managerial revolution. He says that the manager's aims to make profits and hence they fall into the same category as the owners, thus becoming a part of the ruling class themselves. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, methodological individualists often break away from these requirements, as the facts that are used in explanations are not completely individual or dispositional. The predicates often does include, 'statements about the dispositions, beliefs, resources and other inter-relations of individuals' as well as their 'situations...physical resources and environment'. [Watkins, 1971: 270-1] Thus, in social analysis we have to be less concerned with interpersonal relationships, and more with the social contextual relations. Yet, as Watkins argue, 'no social tendency exists which could not be altered if the individuals concerned both wanted to alter it and possessed the appropriate information.' [Watkins, ibid.] Whatever thus be the environmental contexts, they are affected by individuals and individuals are affected by them. Hence, even though methodological individualism and methodological collectivism, in their own rights are extremely important, in my opinion, the best way to study social reality would be to interconnect these two approaches. The debate between Miliband and Poulantzas is one of the most important pieces of research work that have come up in the last decades. However, trying to come to a conclusion to the question of who won their debate is very difficult. Thus, I shall conclude this essay by stating that both these intellectuals are right, but perhaps reconciliation between these two approaches would be the best. ...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. The classical and positivist approaches to criminological theory

    beyond that of the pleasure gained, the positivist approach appeared to be too blaming of biological and statistical factors. It seems that the most daunting characteristic of crime and punishment is its unpredictable element - it is clear or at least highly suggestible now that there cannot be a perfect

  2. Gender as a form of Social Stratification.

    This inequality between groups is further understood if we understand that education has increasingly been linked to the demands of the economy so that subjects like science are valued over the creative subjects such as art or literature. Non-white people have historically been looked upon by white people as a

  1. Evaluation of the difference between Positivist and Interpretivist methodologies

    too many, or too few rules, as the main causes because he used the available statistics on suicide to make his determinations, but did not take into consideration that the coroners may have taken their own interpretation, or that of the deceased person's family, too much into account.

  2. Assess the nature-nurture debate in relation to genders

    Male and female adults usually handle infants differently. By the age of two, children have a partial understanding of gender and can usually categorise themselves and others accurately. However, it is not until five or six, does a child realise that every person has a gender which does not change or that the differences between the gender is anatomically based.

  1. The Corporate Social Responsibility Debate

    These factors help determine risks and liabilities of an organisation, who by adopting CSR may benefit from increased credit worthiness and lower premiums [Holliday, et al. 2002]. If CSR enhances a positive reputation among a company's stakeholders, it is a sensible business strategy, and one that increases profitability and success long-term.

  2. Determining the Elite within Politics and the Judiciary.

    Over the same period the proportion of graduates rose from 17 per cent between the wars to 66 per cent today. In 1997 four times as many Labour MPs were school teachers as miners" (Budge et al 2001 p374) The Parliamentary Labour Party has thus become increasingly white collar, university educated and more solidly middle class.

  1. Max Weber: Basic Terms (The Fundamental Concepts of Sociology)

    sense -- things worldly has progressed, the stronger has the tension on the part of religion become. For the rationalization and conscious sublimation of man's relations to the various spheres of values, internal and external, as well as religious and secular, have then pressed towards making conscious the internal and

  2. The cannabis debate

    includes amphetamines, barbiturates, cannabis and cannabis resin. > Class C (the least harmful) includes anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines and growth hormones. This Act has been modified a number of times. The most current modification is: The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Modification) (No. 2) Order 2003. This Order reclassifies four substances in Schedule 2 to the Misuse of

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