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SWRK 423 (13)
Lecture 2

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Social Work
SWRK 423
Suzanne Gray

Postindustrial societies: -social inequality has increased (more prominent and rapid in the US; the gap is bigger) -technological factors are partly responsible -many high-tech jobs have been created at the top of the stratification system which pays well -new technologies have made many jobs routine (need little training and pay poorly) -increase in routine jobs than jobs at the top cause an increase in inequality -government policy is another factor -through tax and social welfare policies, governments able to prevent big income transfers to the rich -however, only the French have done this Theories of Stratification Conflict Perspectives: Marx: -feudalism existed in medieval Western Europe -by late 15 century, several forces were beginning to undermine feudalism -growth of exploration and trade leading to increased demand -some people able to open small manufacturing enterprises but needed workers (peasants) but they were bound to the land -thus feudalism had to wither if this were to happen (which it did) -relations b/w workers and industrialists first encouraged rapid technological change and economic growth -problems: -some driven out of business due to competition causing them to become working class, as well as peasants moving into citiesworking class numbers grew -drive for profits caused owners to keep wages low and invest little in working conditions -thus ownership class grew richer and smaller, while working class grew larger and poorer -felt that workers would ultimately become aware of their exploitationclass consciousness -encouraged the growth of unions and worker’s political parties and lead to communism Marx’s theory: -a person’s class is determined by the source (not the amount) of his or her income (“person’s relationship to the means of production”) -ex. Bourgeoisie (capitalist class) vs. Proletariat (working class) -second, it recognizes more than 2 classes in any society ex. Petite bourgeoisie -however, bound to disappear as capitalism develops b/c they are inefficient -just 2 great classes characterize every economic era -finally, some of his predictions turned out to be wrong A critique of Marx: -industrial societies did not polarize into 2 opposed classes -there emerged a large middle class of “white-collar” workers (act as stabilizing force in society) -neo-Marxists recognize 2 main divisions in the social relations of work -“new middle class” defines relations of authority and supervision -take direction from owners and responsible for coordinating and directing work of other employees -Marx correctly argued that investment technology made it possi
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