Marx And Weber's Views Of The Social Class

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Social class is a concept that divides a society into different hierarchical groups based on various factors that influence that society. Throughout the history of the world there have always been different classes of people that can be distinguished in every society, and this concept of social class is of particular interest to sociologists who wish to analyse the world we live in. Karl Marx and Max Weber were 19th century sociologists who had opposing views on which factors were responsible for dividing society into different classes. This essay will compare and contrast the views of Marx and Weber on class in modern society, focusing on how they structured class in a capitalist society, what they saw as the driving force behind social change, their views on religion in society and how they viewed the individual and their role in determining class in society.
Marx held a two-dimensional view of class structure in capitalist society. According to Marx, and individual’s position in the class hierarchy in a capitalist society was simply defined by their relationship to productive property, or the means of production. He divided class into two main classes – the
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In a capitalist society defined by exploitation by the bourgeoisie, the proletariat lived in a state of false consciousness and worked hard in the hopes of increasing their prosperity and class status. Marx thought that over time the proletariat would realise that they were being exploited, resulting in a shift towards class consciousness and a revolutionary change in society whereby the proletariat would take over the means of production from the bourgeoisie. This revolution – termed the dictatorship of the proletariat – would increase the social standing of the working class in society [3]. Marx noted that this was only a temporary phase along the path to a communist society where there would be no class
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