The question of societal stratification has dominated among great thinkers of present and past centuries. The concept of the traditional social stratification has changed much due to increased technology, information exchange and the rise of socially differentiated status groups changing the focus from conflict of classes to the rise of new perspectives. The sociological theories of Karl Marx, Bourdieu, Weber and others continue to guide the discussion in sociology as points of departure and convergence. This work will analyze why the politics of class in advanced industrial states are not predominant.
The paper will explain the sociological views of Marx, Weber and Bourdieu concerning views of societal stratification to try and explain the why in the above mission statement of this work. The sociological, theories of each thinker will be explained and summarized before a concrete analysis of the key concepts supporting causal relationships and social mechanisms are examined.
Bourdieu’ Social Space and symbolic Space Summary and Analysis
Consequently, this paper will start with Bourdieu’s work . In his ‘Logic of Practice’ the method, Bourdieu embraces and advocates for is that of transcending the borders between objectivism and subjectivism as well as structure and action. He argues that neither of the view is to be left on their own to explain social sciences but the combination that they would result to inseparable and solid knowledge.
He thus emphasizes that sociology must explain social structure inside the actor. In regard to this view habitus becomes the concept of explaining what already is know by devising new methods, ways, plans or knowledge through the mind and the body. The caution however that should be taken with regard to social structure is about misrecognitions, partial or distorted misunderstanding laid by emphasis on what is experienced through ideologies. Bourdieu therefore attacks ‘ideology’ as flawed since it tends to present mastery from wrong basis.
A class is defined by Marx as a group that is mobilized to engage in common purposes that are especially against another class as quoted by Bourdieu (Calhoun et al., 2012a). In his analysis of Social space and symbolic space, Bourdieu observes through Distinction that those at top of the society tend to pursue ideas and things from their perspective of class and how best they understand them. These properties are in essence very different from those in the lowest part of the society and thus these persons can not meet on a normal level to interact or engage.
He argues that the two kinds of persons in the society have far wider reaching limitations, tastes and preferences, where for those at the top the properties and tastes are not means as is the case for those at the low end scale. It is only through national agendas or chauvinism (Calhoun et al., 2012a) that they can realize a class in Marxist sense. This class is the mobilized or realized class that only appears at a political platform.
In the real sense, the existence of differentiation in class is never present since the society is categorized into social space and symbolic space. Bourdieu organizes the society into social space and symbolic space. The social space is a representation of the varying levels and is identified by particular differences behaviors and attitudes. The social space illustrates that the society is not homogenous as thought but a constant representation of individual differences that mirrors the social division of the society.
In developed countries this space changes in the fact that those at the top of the society can assume positions thought to be for the very lowest in the society. Out of this view then, symbolic space becomes the connotation of those properties that in the view of time have been seen as source of distance between the top and the low parts of the society. In this analysis, Bourdieu makes a clear distinction, through his theory that in the developed countries, the existence of class is not present otherwise what exists are social space and symbolic space.
Emanating from this view Bourdieu comments that, classes only exist in the form virtuosity. The presentation of social space is a source sheds light the conflicts that exist as differences in the developed nations either individually or collectively. In this observation therefore, social space constructs different kinds of capital that become sources of power to defend or change such power.
Marx’s Classes Summary and Analysis
Branching away from Bourdieu, Max in ‘Classes’ observes that the difference in property like land, capital and rent lead to the social classes. In his writing it is clear that in a society the persons who held these prestigious materials, eventually ends as the owner of production. For those in the society who do not have the privileges of owning materials they have to survive by means of providing labor to the landed class. In this respect therefore the laborer become the source of food to the society through work. Social action arises from the increased debts and inadequate or lack of property.
The idea of social action will emanate from Weber’s point of view about honor in the society. Weber wrote that, those forming the group that owns nothing except labor will a group of intermixed persons in various structures of social world of the society. The mixing of these individuals will lobby for the prestigious attention accorded the propertied class. In this respect the need for ‘fair play in the market’ becomes the new weapon for this group. In essence this is the search for honor.
The industrial focus on property is however more advanced from Marx’s explanation of democracy. Concretely, this should be seen as traditional democracy which is in complete contrast with modern from legal order and politics. The rise of capitalism in the search of individual liberalization un the market has changed the perceptions of class. Today the advanced nations are formed of competing individuals and groups each endowed with particular sets of strengths and weaknesses. The borders set strictly on ownership of property don’t exist rather the presence of information and technology determines the success of an individual and a group at a glance.
This classification of the society has changed with the new dimensions of approach at social class. In recalling Bourdieu sociological theory, the politics of class are inexistent leaving only the differences found on the diverse aspects of modern social world. Weber wrote that the aspects of search for status honor stratify the social world into social groups defined by specific attributes. He states that social order may be used to gain economic power or even the opposite of that. In example the fact that people live on the same street or dress in similar fashions is basis for a class distinct from other different groups from these factors.
Modernity in many developed countries from Max’s point of view may be explained as a resulted to advancement of the industrial platform. Industrial progress and advancement in technology has led to prowess in informational technology. This has in effect changed the perception of business to global status thus getting the greater need to stay ahead of everybody, what Weber refers to maintaining the social circle negatively (Calhoun et al., 2012b).
Weber’s Class, Status, Party Summary and Analysis
Weber’s theory observes that the old demarcations of social class have fizzled due to this notion. Modern, advanced industrial societies form the great countries of the earth. These nations’ states however are homogenous if weighed by Marx’s theory, but forge forward to support Weber and Bourdieu. Following from here the examination of education, fashion, music, politics and development ideas will be examined in light of these three sociological theories.
The education quality of the industrially advanced states constitutes among the best in nations. As mentioned the availability of vast resources has made this possible. Those, persons found to belong to the same academic status are expected to observe behaviors and attitudes characteristic of this group. It therefore does not matter who has property or not. The point of unification thus derives from scores of scholarly materials analyzed, written went trough or academic honors achieved as well critical analysis of major works. Further, these academics vary in terms of differences in disciplines where sociologist will be different Mathematicians who are different from linguist (Calhoun et al., 2012b).
Another class will be based on fashion and music which will be established in terms of communities that ascribe to particular fashion that designates a particular taste. In light to music, the genre of music brings together a social group excluding subscribers of other genres of music like reggae, rock or even pop music. The subscription to particular different views of politics like in for example the left, right or center determines the social stratification of a people. In less advanced states such differences have led to fatal civil wars, bloodshed or loss of lives. In terms of development the states that are a concern of this paper will be seen affiliated to other states that are developing as developmental partners with exchange of information and technology.
By analyzing from Weber’s view these form classes that are distinct and distant from the traditional point of view in terms of classes. The rise of social circles point now becomes the new predominant view of classes. The circles will do everything in relation to what is universally among the established rules. These rules may not be written down in the traditional concepts of classes but rather as Bourdieu observes through living them hence their acceptability in the status group. The observance of premises considered otherwise of the status group view results in termination to, disqualification, Weber notes (Calhoun et al., 2012b).
From Weber and Marx‘s writing an analysis advanced capitalism eliminates the notions of the propertied and the not propertied. This in turn has led to different strengths in terms of wealth therefore leading to different social differentiation hence instances of class politics based on similar endowment of material or property looses impetus. In this essence, politics are shaped by the majority of the same view without the discussion of what is the social standing of the repective party holders or bearers. Although this may raise issues in Bourdieu’s theory, modern democracy does not differentiate between the propertied or not propertied in terms of that sense.
In Bourdieu’s view they form the social space and the symbolic space of the society. These stratifications will be maintained by each member behaving as the tenets require of them based on the stable establishment of the group. Thus in industrially advanced states, the class politics are not dominant any more.
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