Class Stratification And Inequality

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‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’

Class stratification and inequality has been the starting point for many debates and arguments about why and how societies are divided. There are several sociological perspectives that all have different ideas and theories on this topic, including Marxism (conflict theory), Functionalism (consensus theory) and Social action. This essay will be focusing on class stratification from the perspective of conflict theory.

Marxism was introduced by Karl Marx (1818 – 1883). Marx believed that society was divided into two classes, the Bourgeoisie which is the ruling class and the Proletariats which is the lower and working class (Burton, 2013). He believed that the bourgeoisie exploited and abused the proletariat. The main difference between these two groups is the ownership and control of production. This then causes conflict between the two classes.
Institutions such as the media, education and the law are used by the bourgeoisie to define and influence social class (Blunden, 2013).

Capitalism plays a significant role in the Marxist perspective. Marx believed that capitalism would lead to the division of the two classes; the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. This would make it much harder for the lower classes to have success in their life as well as gaining social mobility. Marx argues that a social group can only become a class when it becomes a class for itself. This means that
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