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2S06 Lecture 25.docx

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David Young

2S06 Theory – Dr. Young Fox 1 Lecture 25 SOCIOL 2S06 Monday January 16, 2013 2) The Institutionalization of Class Conflict • Marxian influence, but not necessarily a Marxist • Marx saw class conflict as having the potential of violent (between bourgeoisie and proletariat) but resulting in some form of revolution • Dahrendorf talks about institutionalization of class conflict o Says it is regulated by institutions o Social change is reformist rather than revolutionary • We see the institutionalization of class conflict in the economic and legal/political spheres of society • In the economic sphere, the institutionalization of class conflict can be illustrated by unionization of workers and collective bargaining o Workers and managers are going to sit down and negotiate their differences o The workers will be unionized and have representatives to work on their behalf for raises, etc. o We have class conflict: managers vs. workers o We also have resolution: sitting together to peacefully sort out their differences o Regulated by institutions • In the legal/political sphere of the state, the institutionalization of class conflict is illustrated by the settlement of grievances through the courts and the negotiation of policy and legislation through parliament o No violence going on – political parties get together to discuss laws o Courts: non-violent – present their views to the judge and the judge acts as a mediator to come up with a compromise o Working things out between conflicting interest groups • Dahrendorf sees social conflict as a force for social change • The two political parties meet to work things out and the result is some form of change • At the same time, the social conflict, while it results in social change, plays an important role in resolving problems and resulting in social order A) Some Criticisms of Dahrendorf 1) Criticism of his definition of classes • A number of scholars have indicated that his definition of classes is problematic o “Classes are conflict groups arising out of authority structures” • Why is it problematic? 2S06 Theory – Dr. Young o It shows we may up with a limitless number of classes in society o If we have 50 apparently coordinated associations, then there are 100 classes (the 50 that started, and their conflict groups) o This renders the conflict of class almost meaningless o For the concept of class to be useful, we need a relatively small number of classes (WHICH IS WHAT MARX GAVE US TO BEGIN WITH: the proletariat, petty bourgeoisie, and the bourgeoisie) 2) Criticism of his approach to power • He sees power as “every apparently coordinated association has a dichotomy of positions”; there are those who exercise authority at the top and there are those who are subjected to/controlled by authority at the bottom • Theorists feel his conception of power relations is far too simplistic o In actual fact, there is much more complexity in power relations within many types of organizations o It has been argued that the complex system of power cannot be reduced to dichotomist relations since there are so many people involved  Corporate owners  Top executives  Middle managers  Salaried employees  Others o Where is the dividing line of those who exercise authority and those who are subject to it? o Many countries, including Canada and Great Britain, have multi- party political systems rather than dichotomous political systems like the United States (Republicans vs. Democrats) A Biographical Sketch of C. Wright Mills A) Early Life a. Born in Waco, Texas in 1916 b. Came from a conventional middle class background c. Became radical and aligned with the working class B) University Education a. Completed his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin in 1939 b. Published articles in the American Sociological Review and the American Journal of Sociology in 1939 2S06 Theory – Dr. Young i. This was very unusual t
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