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January 18, 2011
SOC102
Lecture 2 - Social Class
2 classes that make difference
- capitalist and socialist, always in conflict (Marx)
- divided into rich and poor, exploiter and exploited (Stalin)
- those that have more appetite than dinners, more dinners than appetite (Sebastien
Balfour)
3 kinds of people
- high, middle, low (George Orwell)
- numbers change throughout time, but classes stay the same
- began as Marxist, left it and began to attack it
- with 3 groups, coalitions and cohesion (odd #s), with 2 groups will always be
conflict (even #s)
Capitalist Society
- capitalist society is characterized by conflict, not harmony
- in industrial societies capitalism divides the population into two opposing classes
- the working class has only 3 alternatives
- cooperate with capitalists
- form unions and try to modify social conditions
- make revolutions
- for humans to live, require food to eat
- in order to eat, must sell labour to others
- those that control food control society, have power over all
- who controls means of production, they control those that sell labour to them
- this is what limits working class' power
- Marx believed unions and cooperation could only do little, unions were only a
starting point
- revolutions were required for change
- different means of production for different societies, meant different people in
control
- social class is different in every society
- differences in social position result from differences in people's relations to the means of
production
- at both ends of the class ladder, class stability over time is maintained by inheritance
- that is why poverty (and wealth) is self-perpetuating from one generation to the next
- social mobility in modern society, should reduce the self perpetuating nature of
society
- preserved materially (wealth) and culturally (value systems and lifestyles)
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- different set of opportunities, expectations from wealthy class to poor classes
- reduces effect of social mobility
- dominant ideology - lower class feels its impossible to take action and make
revolution against rich
- dont feel unequal since expectations dont allow for them to dream higher
- the main institutions of society - including inheritance and even education - ensure the
poor stay poor
- for Marx, key question is how members of a social class can gain class awareness
- the question for Marx is, how does a class in itself become a class for itself?
- Marx believed that by getting into the brains of the working class through class awareness
he could make a difference
- class awareness - perceiving a difference
- class consciousness - understanding position, knowing relationship with class and other
classes
- making people realize they have own interests, can band together and make own class
- the development of class-consciousness requires a transition from a class in itself to a class
for itself
- Marx does not put much faith in significant change through peaceful methods - for
example, through unionization and the ballot box
- rich love wars since patriotism
- patriotism = false consciousness
- distracts working class from awareness of class
- Marx believes step between capitalism to communism -> socialism
- communism will provide working class with equal means of production
- Marx argues industrial capitalism carries seeds of its own destruction
- working and living conditions bring people together with others of the same class and
separate them from people of the opposite class
- in these shared living and working conditions, workers will develop a consciousness of
common interests rooted in relations to the means of production
- bringing in many people to a social area in short time - modern society's factories
- will form groups, will realize class consciousness
- even the books we read, the prayers we chant, and the beliefs we hold about the family and
marriage reflect economic life
- Marx's view about ideas and value differ most from those of Max Weber, another founder
of sociology
- fascination of luck and risk taking
- desperate need to escape from boring life circumstances
- mass media controlled by upper class, allows them to exert influence on lower class
- Marx says that religion, education, etc are controlled more by upper class
- people feel more likely to win lottery than to overthrow upper class
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Document Summary

Capitalist and socialist, always in conflict (marx) Divided into rich and poor, exploiter and exploited (stalin) Those that have more appetite than dinners, more dinners than appetite (sebastien. Numbers change throughout time, but classes stay the same. Began as marxist, left it and began to attack it. With 3 groups, coalitions and cohesion (odd #s), with 2 groups will always be conflict (even #s) Capitalist society is characterized by conflict, not harmony. In industrial societies capitalism divides the population into two opposing classes. The working class has only 3 alternatives. Form unions and t ry to modify social conditions. For humans to live, require food to eat. In order to eat, must sell labour to others. Those that control food control society, have power over all. Who controls means of production, they control those that sell labour to them. This is what limits working class" power.

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