Most societies throughout history and the world have developed a notion of social class. It is refers to hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups within society. How these social classes have been determined has been a common topic among social scientists throughout time. Two individuals who have headed this long standing debate are Karl Marx and Max Weber. In this paper I will be summarizing Marx and Weber’s theories on social class; how they are determined, their interests, and problems that may exist among groups. I will then provide my own critiques of their arguments.
Karl Marx describes “Society as a whole [as being] more and more [split] up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other-bourgeoisie and proletariat” (Marx 124). As Marx made his distinction between upper class, bourgeoisie, and lower class, proletariats, it is important to keep in mind the societal structure at the time. To understand how classes were created and the disparity between the rich and poor, or, bourgeoisie and proletariat, it is necessary to examine how people came to be rich and poor. Exploring a time before money existed will help us to process and understand reasons why the binary between rich and poor exists and how it is reflective of low and high art distinctions.
Anthony Giddens (2006) defines class as “a large-scale group of people who share common economic resources, which strongly influence the type of lifestyle they are able to lead.” (pg 300). Karl Marx, a sociologist in the 19th
Class, the system of ordering a society in which people are divided into sets based on perceived social or economic status. An economical structure where individuals are grouped in lower, middle and upper class. A social structure powered by gender roles, defining masculinity, manliness and femininity. Are we truly living the American Dream? Throughout this essay we will discuss the condition of the working class, women’s right to vote, taking a look at the rise of the Progressive Era and how it changed relationships between big businesses, government, and the working class.
During the 19th century, Europe underwent political and economic change resulting in a shift from craft production to factory work. This was a time known as the Industrial Revolution, in which class division and wage labor were the most foregrounded aspects of society (Poynton). Karl Marx’s theories during this time
In his novel Hugo addresses the need for social reform and change in the crumbling and corrupt streets of French society. He specifically emphasizes improvement in education, the justice system, and the attitude of society towards women, and their political impact on French culture. Hugo does this particularly through Fantine, a woman who resorts to prostitution after being dismissed from her job as a factory worker; in addition to the existence of her illegitimate daughter, Cosette, her blemished reputation disables her from working in another reputable place. Because of Fantine’s shortage of an education and of society’s negative view of women abused by noble men, she is representative of the social injustices against women during this time. She’s illustrative of the gulf in France’s hierarchical system. Her condemnation to a life as a prostitute after being used by an aristocratic man highlights the social shortcomings present in the nobility’s attitude towards the lower classes, which continued to suffer. The misfortune that falls on Jean Valjean, an innocent man who only stole bread to help his dying sister, also represents the crookedness of France’s justice system. Valjean is likened to a habitual criminal and thrown in jail for nineteen years, an absurd sentence for only a loaf of bread. What’s worse is that he’s
Class is important as it can determine various aspects that will have a significant impact and influence on how people’s lives are shaped. Feminists have argued for other things to be included such as social divisions to show how they intersect with class. Economic inequalities can have an impact on class as they can determine a person’s status, wealth, income and lifestyle. Class is important as social inequalities exists amongst the rich and poor. Important social factors include poverty, health and education. A person’s identity is just as important as their class. People may face discrimination due to their identity, whether that may be due to their gender, age, ethnicity or disability. Social mobility is where people are in a different social class now from which they were brought up in. However sociologists argue that class is less important in contemporary society today than it once used to be.
Perspectives of Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were full of evolving social and economic ideas. These views of the social structure of urban society came about through the development of ideas taken from the past revolutions. As the Industrial Revolution progressed through out the world,
“The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.” Marx (1848, p.74)
The Individual and Society in the Communist Manifesto The end of 19th century, Western Society was changing physically, philosophically, economically, and politically. It was an influential and critical time in that the Industrial Revolution created a new class. Many contemporary observers realized the dramatic changes in society.
The Industrial Revolution accomplished far more than just revolutionizing the factory system. Even though industrializing managed to drastically increase efficiency of labor and intensely lower the prices of goods, it wholly transfigured the social relationship of the labor intensive working class. Dawley and Faler examine the historical effect of the workers that adopted the newfound ethics and personalities of their thriving, higher-class employers and people that used these morals to rebel against the new industrial system.
The Class Struggles of 18th and 19th Centuries in Europe Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto in order to give a voice to the struggling classes in Europe. In the document he expressed the frustrations of the lower
Thus, it was believed that conflicting classes existed because individuals developed an appropriate sense of class-consciousness (Buckler 740). This consciousness is very obvious when looking at the mindset of the middle-class owners. They were primarily focused on production and gave little thought to the environment of their workers. As a result, most early factories contained extremely unpleasant work conditions. Mills and factories were dangerously loud, and they were sweltering hot in the summer while poorly heated in the winter. Work days consisted of endlessly long hours and holidays were rarely granted. Furthermore, no laws or unions stood protecting the early urban proletariat workers. Despite these horrid conditions, the proletariat workers were desperate for jobs and were entirely dependant on their employers. Also, because of class-consciousness, they came to accept their positions in society as grueling factory workers. On top of terrible work conditions, the Proletariats’ living conditions were less than satisfactory due to the rapid population increase in urban cities. Until the Industrial Revolution, most of the continent’s population was rural. However, by mid-nineteenth century, half of all Europeans lived in cities and worked in the new industrial factories instead of farms. This transformation of Europe from a rural to urbanized society depressed the living standards of workers to horrendous levels. In doing so, however, it
In his novel, Les Miserables, Victor Hugo identifies the principle social evils of French society through the actions and qualities of his characters. By depicting each of his characters’ struggles through destitute and oppressed measures, Hugo is able to identify the social errors of 19th century France. The fact that characters such as Valjean, Javert, Fantine, and Cosette, attempt to rise above poverty and redeem themselves indicate that such inequalities did, and still do, exist to this day. Through the use of feminist ideals and the criminal injustice system, Hugo attacks the principle social evils that each of his characters face in Les Miserables.
To start of my essay I will compare and contrast between the two theories of Karl Marx and Max Weber on the topic of social class that will be discussed widely. The inequality between people is the basis of the democratic system, which is “a political system”. It is said that “those who have the skills and abilities to perform and produce will succeed in life.” But this belief is the assumption that all people are given equal opportunities and advantages. During the 19th century Karl Marx and Max Weber were two of the most influential sociologists who developed their own theories about why inequality is maintained with social class in society. Many might argue that there are many similarities and differences between these sociologists theories, however although Marx’s and Weber’s both examined similar ideas. This essay will compare the differences and similarities between Marx and Weber’s theories of class within society, which are based on economic inequality and capitalism. And lastly this essay will demonstrate that Max Weber comes across as the greater theorist as he can relate his concept more towards today’s society. Anthony Giddens (2nd edition) quoted that “You need greater equality to achieve more social mobility.” Therefore social class is referred to a group of people with similar levels of wealth, influences, behaviours and status. Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American Politician states that the “ignorant classes are the dangerous classes.”