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Lecture 2: Social Classes

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Lorne Tepperman

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Social Inequality Class Inequality -about economic inequality: wealth inequality: rich vs. poor Rich has more power than poor -related to other kinds of inequality Ex. Racial inequality: part of what they face is discriminationtranslate into class inequality -has health consequences, war, etc. Few people would say they are in the Upper or Lower class, most would say they are in Middle class or Working class -class is an economic relationship Max Weber, and Karl Marx both gave definitions of class Weber: class situation results froom his location in property, there’s a market for our labour, and some are competing more successfully than others: in other words, class is a competition Marx: David Lockwood: British sociologist: distinguished between “market situation”a person’s (relative) economic position, income, job security, advancement introduces (similar to Marx) about work situation: define class in a workplace-whether you are the boss or the employee Class Consciousness, Class mobilization Class is attribute as well as relationshipcarries potential to class warfare Class inequality is different from other inequality Because racial inequality is much more visible, physical features Social classes have no easy-to-spot distinguishing features Implications class differentiation requires a lot of cultural inventiveness (the invention of a culture of wealth/culture of poverty) Social classes-you have to learn what are the distinguishing features Class has to be learned (racial, gender, etc. doesn’t) IMPORTANT!!!!! Habits of Inequality Theory: All societies display social inequalities Societies vary in social inequality -they vary in the degree and kinds of social inequality they display SNPNS All types of social unequality display similar patterns Social differentiationway of identifying different kinds of people SEE FIRST NOTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Class is different because it isn’t obvious We have to create class. Classes are produced by economic relations Veblen’s book: Theory of th Leisure class critiques modern western society Wasteful consumption demonstrates the status of those groups that can afford to live in such a world Culture of Poverty Passed on to their kidsthey feel unworthy, powerless, that they can’t ever escape But they lack historical perspectiveonly know their own troubles, own local conditions, their own way of life They are not class conscious They can’t see beyond their own conditions Karl Marx: Every society has own form of organ
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