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Evaluation of Marx's and Weber's concept of class relevant to understanding contemporary societies - Essay Example

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Evaluation of Marx's and Weber's concept of class relevant to understanding contemporary societies

This leads to a relatively impoverished conception of the nature of antagonistic interests generated by class relations.
Key readings from Marx ("The Communist Manifesto" and "On Classes") and Weber ("Class, Status, and Party") help us understand the sociological analyses of inequality in the concepts of social class, exploitation, surplus value, markets, status, and power. But there is always a difference of opinion between these two thinkers that clearly contrasts Marx's historical materialism and emphasis on class conflict with Weber's exploration of the overlapping sources of inequality in economic, social, and political spheres. (Chatterjee, 83)
The importance of production relations in Marxian theory with Weber's emphasis on market relations could be a key prospect in understanding the basic or fundamental influence on modern European society. It could well be suggested that both property and market dynamics are important by relating each to the concepts of class composition. The basic concept may be incorporated into Weber's emphasis on social closure to more clearly differentiate social classes which could develop into a model of class structure, usefully differentiates relational and gradational conceptualizations of social class, and re-visits some key differences between Marxian and Weberian theory.
But the end goal being the evaluation of Marxian and Weberian theory in the perspective of the modern society it could be well punctuated that the basic relevance of these perceptions are present even today but not necessarily in a visible manner. The insights of Marx and Weber remain integral to sociological analyses of inequality even as more recent scholarship has promoted more contextual, and some would say more nuanced, models. (Fletcher, 63)
The basic perception of Marxian and Weberian theory relate to several critical debates in sociology, including structure versus agency arguments, functionalist versus social conflict models, and the debate over the primacy of class (as opposed to race or gender). In addition, the book's organization invites readers to think sociologically about the evolution of sociological theory itself; the connections between scholarly debates and the historical periods in which they are grounded are evident throughout the society. The concept of Marxian and Weberian theory is also useful for illuminating some of the differences between American and European intellectual traditions.
If theoretical frameworks are identified by their silences as loudly as by their proclamations, then one of the defining characteristics of class analysis in Weberian tradition is the virtual absence of a systematic concept of exploitation. Nothing better captures the central contrast between the Marxist and Weberian traditions of class analysis than the difference between a class concept centred on the problem of life chances in Weber and a concept rooted in the problem of exploitation in Marx. This is not to say that Weber completely ignores some of the substantive issues connected to the problem of exploitation.
It can be formulated easily, for example, Weber, like Marx, sees an intimate connection between ...Show more


To understand the foundations of Marx's and Weber's class analysis one must look beyond their synoptic treatments of class in their well-known and much appreciated works on economy, party concept and class systems. These perceptions and concepts of class are intimately linked to their investigations of the broad problem of rationalization in modern society…
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Evaluation of Marxs and Webers concept of class relevant to understanding contemporary societies essay example
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