Innovative thinking about a global world Sunday, August 24, Power and social class What does social class have to do with power? The two concepts represent theories about how a modern society works, and there are some fundamental relationships between them. But at bottom they are separate social factors that allow for independent forms of social causation. The first is fundamentally concerned with the economic structure of a society, the systems through which wealth is created and distributed, and the second is concerned with the expressions of politics within a society.
It has been suggested that social inequality is a feature of all human societies Haralambos and Holbornp. Sociologists have identified a number of different forms of stratification systems existing in other societies or historic periods, for example, the caste system in traditional India, slavery and feudalism Bilton et alpp.
From a study of other systems it is clear that not all systems of stratification are organised in terms of social class; the caste system for example was stratified in terms of status.
Bilton et alp. For Marx there were two distinct classes in society; the capitalist class, who own the means of production, and the working class, who own only their labour power which they sell to the capitalist class, or bourgeoisie, in return for wages. Marx believed that the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the working class was one of exploitation; the bourgeoisie exploit the working class as the wages workers receive for their labour is a fraction of the market value of the products they produce.
Marx felt that the conflicts of interest inherent in capitalist societies would eventually lead to its downfall and to the emergence of a communist society.
He believed that once the working class realised the true nature of their exploitation they would rise up and overthrow capitalism. Another classic sociologist, Max Weber, agreed with Marx that social classes develop when individuals compete in a market economy for economic resources; however he saw other factors as equally important in understanding class composition and divisions in society.
Weber identified four separate classes in capitalist society; the propertied upper class, the propertyless white-collar workers, the petty bourgeoisie and the manual working class Haralambos and Holbornp.
For Weber, as Haralambos and Holbornp. Different occupations offer different skills, and skills that are highly valued or in demand will lead to greater rewards. In this way, social class may be determined by occupation and skills, as opposed to the relationship of individuals and groups to the means of production, because economic rewards affect lifestyle and life chances.
Weber also saw as important in the formation of social groups the concepts of status and parties. Status and party groups may or may not belong to, or serve the interests of, the same social class. This idea is obviously in contrast to the ideas of Marx, who argued that the working class would one day recognise their shared situation of inequality and oppression and come together as a homogeneous group to overthrow the forces of capitalism.
Marxists argue that Weber placed too much emphasis on market position, neglecting the most important class division between the capitalists and the working class. Marxists have also argued that status divisions are closely linked to class divisions, that is, the class in possession of the greatest proportion of property and wealth will necessarily also possess greater status and power.
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Despite these criticisms, the theories of Marx and Weber have proved an influential basis for most modern sociological theories of class. The problems inherent in identifying the number of different social classes in modern society are many and varied and include broad questions of ontology, as well as detailed ones of definitions and boundaries.
Occupation is the most common indicator of social class used in present times, but scales vary as to the number of classes identified and the definitions of each class in terms of occupations. Most scales, however, recognise an upper, middle and working class.Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children, Power Relationships and Oppression in Relation to Social Work Essay another group and their discriminatory actions.
There is often an imbalance of power between the groups, and the dominant group may ‘disregard the rights’ of the non-dominant group (Thompson, ). Sociology Essay - Sociology is a field which developed over a millennia ago, but it was not until the nineteenth century that it came into the fore as a bona fide social science, in need of its own classification apart from other social sciences.
The Vitality Oppression And Population Sociology Essay. 3. Critically explore the commonalities and differences between the experiences of two of the following groups: people with mental health issues and more mature people Oppression can be defined as a predicament where a person, group, society, culture or point out, have power, whether.
Power in Society Essay Words 8 Pages A world of system designed to keep people in unjust and unequal positions is held in place by several interrelated expression of "power over": political power, economic power, physical force, and ideological power (Bishop, 36). Power & Privilege Essay Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack Th e United States of America has always been considered the home of the brave and the land of the free.
Power and social class So the particulars of a class system provide key determinants of the distribution of power within society.
Third, a class system also creates a subjectivity of power, powerlessness, and resistance that may iterate into new forms of the exercise of power. Sociology is one of the core disciplines of the social.