The Working Class in Modern Britain The working class in modern Britain requires further study because of the fact that there have been certain changes in the factors that determine their identity. It is clear that the working class, as a particular section in society, is defined by factors that are not within its control…
e. the capitalists, in order to survive. However, as Britain marches along with the rest of the developed countries on the path of automation and computerization, it may seem that such definition is no longer valid. It is for this reason, that there is an important need to reconsider the concept of the working class in Britain. In order to determine the concept of the working class in Britain, it is necessary to consider the previous definitions of the sociologists who had introduced the theory of social stratification. Two of the foremost promoters of this theory are Karl Marx and Max Weber. Although both share similar views on the condition that the working class must sell labour in order to live, their difference lies on the question of ownership of the means of production. According to Marx and Engels (2012), with the means of production not within their control, “these labourers, who must sell themselves piece-meal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition to all the fluctuations of the market” (p. 161). ...
The reason for this is that both have different bases or recognizing the development and existence of the working class as well as its role in transforming society. Marx clearly bases his definition on the relationship of the working class to the means of production. He also asserts that it is the creation of surplus product that serves as the condition for the existence of classes in a capitalist society. Weber, on the other hand, presents a theory of stratification with three components. The three are wealth, which actually refers to economic situation, prestige, which means status situation, and power, which pertains to the political influence and the parties to which people belong. Marx’s definition is anchored in production, while Weber’s is based on the relativeness of a social group to others. Weber, on the other hand, does not go to the extent of studying the internal dynamics of production. He merely defines the working class in relation to other classes in society and whose labour is their only means for survival. It is in this context that Weber dwelt on the plurality of classes, especially on the characteristics of a growing middle class (Bradley, 1996, p. 48). It is because of this framework that Weber set out to further categorise working class, explaining the differences of each category and challenging the Marxist concept of being a homogeneous or monolithic section of society. The Marxist and even the Weberian definition of the working class treats it as alienated or disadvantaged and, therefore, suggests that changes in social structures should be done. Functionalism, on the other hand, is a theory that proposes that the working class is a ...
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