Social Stratification: Week 3
Social Stratification: Week 3
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Date Created: 04/17/14
41814 1113 AM WEEK 3 Tuesday April 14 2014 Conflict Theories of Stratification Muti Dimensiona Conflict Class status pa y Marx Conflict Theories Dialectical Materialism o The theory of everything 0 Mode of production How do we generate what we consume Our surplus An old mode of production gets out moded generates all it can It maxes out can39t get anymore productivity 2 Only so much andony so much technology 2 But there is a possibility for more productivity when technology is advanced but it comes into conflict with itself 2 Mercantiles who are starting to do little factory work to produce and sell stuff More factories more laborers 2 New class of people if we do something different we will have a lot more productivity Comes into conflict with old group of people 0 Underlying mode of production generates classes of people a new class or people who want to carry forward te economy and old class of people who want to keep the old ways Come into clash with each other Class conflict drives history 2 Also drives us from one mode of production to the next mode of production New capital class going into war with old order and have mini revolutions 0 New people destroy the old superstructure ie the roman catholic church belief of not working ideas of beauty as round and pale Destroyed New laws new ideas constitutions All attached to the underlying economy Marx39s Scientific Folly Did Marx attempt to explain too much with too little 0 Trying to predict something that hasn39t happened yet foolish when it comes to society 0 Theories about society must be much more narrow with a smaller scope Teleological view of history 0 Revolution 0 Rise of a new middle class of managers professionals etc Class model the Haves and the have nots o Two casses o The haves produce a new group of people that then struggle with other class 0 Inside every new Marxist there seems to be a Weberian struggling to get out Parkin 1979 So why do we care As sociologists we only care about theories that help make sense of the real world However he developed a number of confict based sensitizing concepts concerning 0 Class 0 Alienation o Ideology 0 Politics amp Power Lets take the CLASS concept For Marx a person39s class is structural that is shaped by their position in the underlying economic system mode of production 0 Do you have ownership in the means of production or are you selling your labor Whether you know it or not according to Marx your class shapes your thoughts and actions Dialectical Materialism So social structure the relations of productions arises from the underlying material conditions of the world and our means of reproducing human life 0 How does one individual or group get higher in the hierarchy o How does one individual or group stay ahead By exploiting another group39s labor 2 Expropriating its value and using it to maintain one s dominance in the system 2 Marx called this alienation Alienation means that we live in a world where we are essentially not able to be fully human 0 Being a human being is about capacity to createproduce That39s what makes us different than animals according to Marx o Objects in this world are not just physical objects Think of them as being people without people they wouldn39t be there 0 Living in an economy where some people produce and others take these objects alienation as we are alienated from ourselvesour labor 2 Everything that is made is somebody s labor 2 There are different ways to produce some ways maximize while others minimize the alienation 2 People put their labor into stuff they get a little money to cove some of there labor but the rest is TAKEN from them expropriated them taking part of your humanity according to Marx Alienation something is being exploited at some level Some level of humanness is being taken from them along with their labor Ok so why does this work Why don39t the exploited get together and take charge 0 One answer is in the social structure itself The dominant group has more cohesive structure and better organization Better technology and communication Easier to mobilize and defend interests 0 But is that all Is there some other concept that can help explain this Ideology Why do you believe what you believe Ideas themselves dominate people 0 There are ways we think about the world that blind us to the truth Socia structura basis for knowledge and belief o The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing If you can fake that you39ve got it made Legitimation o Inequality is not simply about an organization of people and the economy but also about how we learn to think about ourselves explain inequalities make some acceptable etc Religion culture and legitimation o The opiate of the masses according to Marx 0 Makes people numb to the pain 0 People pray rather than trying to make a change 0 Religions are used to make inequalities seem natural okay in the structure of the universe itself etc 0 Ideas that is laws customs and beliefs are the superstructure that legitimized the substructure of the mode of production Class ideology Dominant class owns the mental means of production Working class is a class in itself but not for itself Duped by religion and other sacred ideas Valorizing the culture of the ruling class 0 Ie harry potter capitalism muggles vs wizards Only upper class go to real life schools like Hogwarts Ideologies The ruling ideas of any epoch are the ruling class because they control the means of mental production 0 Books printing presses newspapers Newspapers have business section but never a labor section or a section devoted to the workers 0 Internet Net neutrality anyone Marx would say that the internet will eventually go in the way of the ruling class though it has not yet Marx would say filters are coming like North Korea and these filters will help the upper class and ruling class and the wealthy Class cultures Material conditions give rise to fragmentation and mental domination of working class 0 Prevent the formation of coherent class identity 0 Ideological hegemony thinking with the dominant class ideas Dominant class is better organized and connected 0 Valorize their own culture making it the measure of success 0 Schooling and social reproduction Class consumption Capitalism systems foster desire and feelings of inadequacy You need MORE always Why do we believe things that are not in our objective interests in terms of economics Massive conundrum in trying to understand stratification system 0 Marx its about the superstructures of beliefs 0 Why didn39t the people overthrow the pharaohs They were believing it Media reduces class to insipid fantasies 0 We don39t think of it in terms of exploitation but as that funny show with working class people Capitalist class culture Extols various freedoms Promotes money as the measure or success Fosters consumerism the belief that making and spending money is basis of pleasure Defends free markets as determining prices and wages due to efficiency Claims meritocracy and equal opportunity as basisexplanation as to why some people get ahead and others don39t Individual achievement The myth of the sef made man You can come to America and redefine and remake yourself Can work your way to the top etc Theory of politics Property is upheld by the state 0 Not an inalienable human right of the individual Dominant class myth therefore be concerned with politics 0 Make sure it protects its property interests 0 The inner workings of the apparatus really boring stuff like regulations but the sort of thing that helps keep rich people rich 0 Politics are perhaps the most important measure in inequality in contemporary society Do laws favor dominate group of capitalists or working class people Politics is a struggle to control the state 0 Its messier than Marx suggested many coalitions and horse trading etc 0 Still provides a realistic conflict theory Power depends upon material means to mobilize 0 Even though outnumbered the ruling class has better organization 0 Capitalists realize their shared interests 0 Most important aspect of power today is the legal structure Just as in 1848 the banks are powerfully aligned with the state 0 Economic prosperity is job 1 for the state and radical changes to the system are likely to mess things up for government 2007 the troubled asset relief program Give giving billions of dollars to wall street to make sure that their companies did not fail Some companies gave millions 10s of millions of bonuses to the CEOs Golden parachutes got millions of dollars and left company before it went up in flames 1 alienation 2 Ideologies 3 Power and politics Max Weber pronounces WAYBURR Probably the most influential classical sociological theorist Differs from Marx in key ways 0 O 0 Conflict is key but it isn39t just about class Culture is important and makes things happen but isn39t reduced to an aspect of social structure Narrative of changing social structure is about neither class struggle nor functional differentiation but greater rational organization Paves the way for greater understanding of human agency Also considered a conflict theorist 0 Sometimes seen as antagonistic to Marx but is actually more of a continuation a later generation of German conflict theory Family involved in politics 0 0 Didn39t see politics as al about one group dominating another Didn39t have faith that workers of the world uniting and taking over would make a better system than capitalism Thought capitalism would be best system for human freedom and productivity Studied law Sympathetic to socialism but thought capitalism a better system for overall enhancing human freedom and productivity Conflict theorist 0 Sometimes called Bourgeois Marx 0 Critical of capitalism but not a revolutionary o More hope than Marx but still very little in political leaders than in the masses Conflict o Refused to reduce stratification to economic factors 0 Multidimensional view of social stratification Class status and party 0 While ones position on one dimension may be correlated with the other they are not reducible to one another 0 Political parties are the most organized groups that exist Conflict 0 Class class situation People have common life chances causally determined by economic interests possession of goods opportunities for income 0 Statues Unlike class refers to community Honor prestige recognition Association with a style of life 2 Consumption of goods rather than their production Class economic status social party politics Groups oriented toward acquiring power Most well organized social groups 2 A rational order of staff to help push goals Often represent class and status group but seek power in political arena 0 Class status and party tend to overlap but not always Early capitalist era was more strongly class based In societies with more closure status is primary In modern societies party is stronger History as messy muti sided conflict on many fronts 0 Thursday April 16 2014 Conflict Theories of Stratification MultiDimensional Conflict The Road Ahead Finish unpacking the dimensions of inequality and general theories of how they are related with one another Use these frameworks to explain how these dimensions come together to form the stratification system contemporary US 0 Class status mobility How do gender and race ascriptive characteristics fit in with this system Marx If you know where the money is then you know where the power is If you own property you have power You either have resources and power or no resources and no power All the other stuff culture social honorific civil human asset groups not as important to him Weber Believes 3 important groups Class Party and Status There is an underlying economic dimension Groups of people defined by shared cultures networks titles positions of honor etc o ie doctors as a status group associated with a higher class But not necessarily the wealthiest group But have a shared knowledge and set of clubs work place associations conferences titles statuses 2 Status as a position in a social group Class Status Party as distinct 0 You can have status but not economics ie professors have status but may make less than plumbers Rationalization For Weber the great shift to modernity is a process of rationalization that is formalizing the relationships within larger complex organizations 0 Process that he predicted would continue forever 0 Rationalization as the process of trying to organize human behaviors in a way that optimizes efficiency predictability Turns things into a means ends type of model ie We are trying to get a degree Means required courses grades etc Ends degree 0 This goes hand in hand with a shift in the bases of legitimate power 0 Shift away form traditional authority and further from charismatic authority to ega rationa authority 0 Permeating of rationalization into our lives When you die you die through a rational organizational process usually 2 Put in a hospital after gone go through usual process Schools go through rational process 0 Turning life uncertainty into a rational process where each organization has a clarified mission it is serving in the life course of a person or in a certain structure For Marx capitalism is just the continuation of one group taking power and dominating the other BUT For Weber capitalism is rationalization of the economy Corporations are large complex organizations with what goal 0 Make the most with the least 0 Extract the most profit possible For the shareholders people who own the stock in that corporation It is illegal to not do that if there is an opportunity to maximize profit for shareholders and they do not they can be sued Rationalization is part of a drift away from traditional authority and charisma 0 Not necessary for authority The Corporation A Legal Person Many ways of addressing inequalities are bound up in complex organizations As rational organizations take over they create white collar positions 21 century expansion of organization and creation of white collar workers responsible for some kind of functioning of the bureaucracy Modern conflict theories So who are the workers today The rise of complex organizations gave rise to the new middle class professionals managers 0 Tend to be conservative 0 Have some status o Interact with bosses and identity with them 0 The hope of mobility springs eternal DAHRENDORF S power groups Power and economy not as much tightly coupled today Who gives orders and who takes order is basis of class in contemporary society Sometimes power classes coincide with economic classes when property is basis of power 0 More generabring together Marx and Weber Have to build upon workplace authority 0 Who gives and takes orders Society as lumped into groups 0 People who strictly give orders 0 Huge middle people who respond to orders 0 People who have no power ie work on the shop room floor Who you hang out with has a lotto do with shared positions of authorty Workplace groups are connected with economics and status Dahrendorf Proposes power divisions are more fundamental than class The ownership of property sometimes corresponds to those who give and those who take orders 0 Power coincides with economic classes o This was the situation when Marx was writing Takes class and generalizes it in a Weberian direction 0 Power conflict is more basic than economic conflict o Giving and taking orders is the fundamental reality of classes today Points to a social psychology of how people experience the world differently based upon these divisions 2 Your fundamental psychology has a lot to do with whether you are taking or giving orders or somewhere in the middle 2 People cannot fundamentally identify with someone who is in a different position as them What is it like to be an order giver How does it shape one s consciousness What is the lived experience like Status and Domination Status 0 Has most to do with Culture your beliefs what you consume mannerisms clothing way of talking knowledge of genres where you travel Social clubs you belong to informal networks workplace organizations Honorific grouping or titles occupation with a certain high status title religious titles marriage based titles achievement based titles credentials Thornstein Veblen 18571929 American sociologist 0 Rough mannered son of Norwegian farmers o Felt out of place in rarified academia Not a Marxist but highly critical of the wealthy 0 Our natural instinct for workmanship is transformed into efforts to outdo one another in accumulating symbols of economic achievement Like Marx he extends Rousseau Our natural instinct for workmanship is transformed into efforts to outdo one another in accumulating symbols of economic achievement Private property becomes the basis of esteem o Sef esteem based upon material possessions Sense of self comes from consuming goods and owning things our material possessions We are fundamentally alienated form ourselves Makes us happy to be betterhave more than someone else 0 Not possible to be satisfied since the struggle is substantially a race for reputability on the basis of invidious comparison Economics doesn39t matter as much until it is converted into possessions or non material things that we can show off 0 Born out of private property and changes with the contemporary form of capitalism Conspicuous leisure how it used to be before capitalism o Consuming time non productivey because work is unworthy characteristic of the old aristocratically 0 Not working demonstrates ones wealth Conspicuous consumption 0 Replaces conspicuous leisure in most modern societies 0 Wasting money on the best things or just to demonstrate one s wealth o Throwing lavish parties 0 Not intentional waste of time and money but in attempting to conform to social pressures we basically show off our material position and misrecognize others wealth as personal prestige 0 We have come to a point where owning the best things shows you have a certain amount of wealth 0 You are able to waste money as you have so much of it 0 We mistake money for status Status Symbols Horses as a status symbol for millionaires in Spain One man bought ranch and try to fill with high class horses 70000 horses a year go to slaughterhouse people latch on to things that make them seem important one horse 40000 In the bad times they try to get rid of them 0 Would rather destroy them and breed as food than give them to the wrong people There is a free facility to take care of the horses 0 Do they care about the status or the horses Many people would take horse but if you give it to the wrong people it devalues the horse it is a symbol of status Same with dogs very careful about how many of certain breeds get produces and who gets them
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