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Theories of Social Inequality Essay

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Theories of Social Inequality In briefly evaluating the classical and modern explanations of social inequality, it is essential that we step outside the realm of our own lives, class position, and discard any assumptions we might have about the nature of inequality. This process of critical pedagogy allows us to view our world, not from our perspective, but from a wider, more critical analysis of inequality's nature. Also, it should be considered within this wider perspective that all theories of inequality have a class perspective, where the theorist, based on the position their theory takes, is making claims from (or for) a particular class (whether they want to or not). With this in mind, it seems that most of these theories come…show more content…
Within this structure, Weber describes there being three dimensions of inequality: class (which correlates with the economy), status (which correlates with the social aspects of society), and party (which correlates with the political aspects of society). I believe most of the modern explanations of inequality, at most, help build upon Weber's general theories, and at least, reflect the same elitist pessimism that Weber also holds. The dual-labor market thesis contends that there are two labor markets (in terms of income), in which the higher income market is of primary importance and the lower income market is of secondary importance. This tries to justify those people within high power positions by (somehow) trying to prove that our system is objectively rewarding higher incomes to professions that have higher social importance than lower income professions. Similarly, the functionalist theory of stratification "views societies as social systems that have certain basic problems to solve or functions that have to be performed if the society is to survive" (243). So the reason for inequality, for functionalists, is because our system must reward (with significantly higher incomes) those individuals who are motivated enough to yield the stresses of such functionally important positions. The fact that our system reproduces classes into the same class assumes the
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