Theories of social class (Society is stratified, we Are not all equal)
FUNCTIONALIST THEORY OF SOCIAL CLASS AND INEQ : The functionalist perspective assumes that society operates as a working whole. This Perspective assumes that each stratum of society has an important function and This explains its development and continued existence. Society operates using a system of rewards and negative sanctions based on value consensus. Strata in Society are formed and developed through value consensus where generally held Views on what is good for society give rise to rewards. Occupations that are Highly valued are given higher rewards. Functionalists claim that different Social groups are interdependent and this extends to social stratification. For Functionalists inequality is inevitable. Different levels of power and Authority are needed to keep working organizations functional. Stratification is An inevitable outcome of society´s functional prerequisites (sth that must be In place for society to function effectively). All roles must be filled, they Must be filled by the most able and suitable people, the right people for the Role must be trained, the roles must be performed well.
CRITICS OF FUNCTIONALISM: inequality also occurs in the chances Individuals have to achieve positions of high social and economic status. Reducing The number of people in high status occupations gives rise to a high demand for Services and people in demand can charge high fees.
MARXIST THEORY OF SOCIAL STRATIFICATION: functionalist claim That society is based on value consensus. For this reason, Marxist theory is Known as conflict theory and functionalism is known as consensus theory. Marxist Theory is a radical alternative to the view of society presented by the Functionalist. Marxists claim that social stratification divides society and is Used by the rich and powerful to exploit others. Marx stated that in societies Where there is social stratification there are basically two classes: a ruling Class and a subject class. The ruling class controls the capital, land and Industry, known as the means of production. The subject class depends on the Ruling class for employment in order to live. Members of the same class share a Similar relationship to the means of production and therefore share common Experiences and values. People in the ruling class (bourgeoisie) share a common Drive to get the best possible profit from their position of ownership. People in Subject class (proletariat) share a common drive to get higher wages in order To have a better standard of living. All social structures exist to maintain The status quo, the unequal power relationship in society. Marx claimed that The only solution to the injustice and inequality created by such a system is For the means of production to be collectively owned and the rewards shared Equally. He believed that the only way for this to come about was through a Worker´s revolution.
ERIK OLIN Wright AND NEO-MARXISM: Marx´S THEORY had elements That do not fit with modern society. One problem is that middle classes were not Represented in Marx´s original model, yet is the largest class in modern society. He used the term “petty bourgeoisie” to refer to a class with some limited Influence over the means of prod. Although modern society is more complex than Marx´s society, conflict and exploitation still exist.