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Sociological Perspectives on Social class - Essay Example

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Sociological Perspectives on Social class

According to Marx these economic factors govern social relationships. (University of Regina. October 2 and 4, 2002).
Max Weber - 1864 -1920 : A German sociologist, he was one of the founders of modern sociology.His view on class owes a lot to Marx's, though with some important differences, but he goes beyond Marx in delineating the status and political dimensions of stratification. Max Weber viewed himself as a left-wing liberal and one of his liberal views was his staunch nationalism that a nation with freedom for individuals is maintained by the virtues and character of its citizens. Though Max Weber came much later than Karl Marx, in contrast he viewed society as having several layers; not only two, and that factors other than the material were important. He was of the view that society had three classes with class, status and party (or politics) as totally different elements. Each of the three dimensions has consequences for what Weber called "life chances". For Marx, these dimensions are subordinate to class, but for Weber how they interact is a contingent question and one that will vary from society to society. (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, April 13 2006).
Karl Marx's views on social class:Marx's view was that if you are to understand human history you must not see it as the story of great individuals or the conflict between states. Instead, you must see it as the story of social classes and their struggles with each other. Marx explained that social classes had changed over time but in the 19th century the most important classes were the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. However, other classes such as landlords, petty bourgeoisie and peasants, also exist, but are not so important.
Bourgeoisie. People who have the power of purchasing capital and purchasing and exploiting labour power and using the surplus value from the employment of this labour power to accumulate or expand their capital are the bourgeoisie.
Proletariat. People who possess the power to do hard physical work are the proletariat they are just owners of labour power, with no resources other than the ability to work with their hands, bodies, and minds. Most of them have no property and so they have to work for the bourgeoisie to survive. The proletariat is usually exploited by the bourgeoisie.
(University of Regina. October 2 and 4, 2002).
Marx believed that these two classes are not merely different from each other, but also have different interests. He went on to argue that the conflict between these two classes would eventually lead to revolution and the triumph of the proletariat. Karl Marx envisioned a change from a feudal society based on agriculture, where the land owning class were different from the peasants . This was because the industrial revolution, saw the capital owning class (factory owners) differentiated from the factory workers. (Phil Bartle .Ph.d, 2005).
Max Weber's views on social class: According to Max Weber all communities are arranged in a manner that goods, tangible and intangible, symbolic and material are distributed. Such a distribution is always unequal and necessarily involves power. ''Classes, status groups and parties are phenomena of the distribution of ...Show more
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Summary

Marx's economic analysis of capitalism is based on his version of the labour theory of value, and includes the analysis of capitalist profit as the extraction of surplus value from the exploited proletariat. Marx viewed class as related to the means of production…
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