Compare and Contrast the Marxist and Weberian Theories of Social Class. Why Do You Think Marx Emphasises Relations of Production in the Formation of Classes Whilst Weber Suggests the Market and Consumption Are the Important Factors?

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Compare and contrast the Marxist and Weberian theories of social class. Why do you think Marx emphasises relations of production in the formation of classes whilst Weber suggests the market and consumption are the important factors?

All human societies have been class based in some way, shape or form and, interpreting this in the most basic way, it can be said that in every known human society there has been a fundamental division between two broad social groups, the buorgeoisie that own and control the means of production, and the proletariat who own nothing but their ability to sell their labour power (that is, their ability to work) in return for wages. The anger and dissent over the differences in social classes has never wavered …show more content…

Three attributes are important to Weberian approaches: the ownership of wealth producing materials and enterprises; skills (including credentials and qualifications); and social prestige. In contrast, Marxist approaches emphasise the ownership and non-ownership of the means of production in defining employers and workers. Marxist and neo-Marxist measures of social class are always categorical, distinguishing at least three class groups: large employers; the self-employed; and workers.

Marx and Weber differ in their thoughts on social mobility. Marx argues that there are two main groups, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, and that it is a predictable relationship and the only way to end this power relationship is through the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeoisie. (v. Krieken, R. et al, 2001, pp. 56) Whereas Weber argues that social mobility is possible through the individual acquiring marketable skills. These skills through education, life chances and subsequent occupational choices can lead to movement in the class structure for the individual. (v. Krieken, R. et al, 2001, pp. 57-58, & p. 65) Weber argues that social mobility can either move us upwards or downwards depending on our choices and opportunities. While Marx does recognise social mobility, he relates this mainly to the petty bourgeoisie, and its likelihood of being absorbed by the other two classes due to its transitional nature. For Marx, class is a clearly defined and

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