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 over countless centuries, and has aroused many upheavals of society throughout history and has been the subject of a myriad of debates. Two theories that stand out are those of Karl Marx and Max Weber, both with the same fundamental core of the underlying connection between social relations to resources and material interests, but contrasting in different ideologies.

Marx's theory of class focuses on the relations of production, involving exploitation and domination, between a class of owners of the means of production and a class of non owner workers. For Marx, classes are defined and structured by the relations concerning work, labour and ownership or possession of property and the means of production. Although Marx did not complete the manuscript that would have presented his overall view of social class, many of his writings concern the class structures of capitalism, the relationship among classes, the dynamics of class struggle, political power and classes, and the development of a classless society.

While Marx saw class divisions as the most important source of social conflict Weber discusses class in the context of social stratification much more generally. Weber believed there to be four major social classes- the

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