Marx and Weber Social Class

Topics: Social class, Marxism, Sociology Pages: 3 (1153 words) Published: November 10, 2008
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. Marx first sets up his arguments on class by referring to the historical class struggles. “Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed (n.d:474). He believes society has split into two classes known as the Bourgeoisie and Proletariat. This is a key point because he defines class by their control over the mode of production. The mode of production refers to the specific organization of economic production in a given society. A mode of production includes the means of production of used by society, such as factories, facilities, machines and raw materials. The Bourgeoisie are those in control of the means of production while the Proletariat must sell their labor. This was referred to as the market exchange value and was reflected in wages. The Bourgeoisie in this society try to extract as much surplus value as possible from the Proletariats labor or pay them as little as possible to keep them alive and productive. This capitalist mode of production was the basis of class struggle.

The worker or Proletariat approaches work as a means of survival and not personal satisfaction because the products of labor no longer belong to him. “ Modern industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of laborers, crowded into the factory,...
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