Social Classes Lecture

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8 Feb 2011
Social Classes: Lecture 2 January 18 th
Frederick Engels –quote: all history was history of class struggles
Sebastian –quote: society is composed of two classes, very well off and very underfed
A capitalists society is characterized by conflict not harmony
In industrial societies capitalism divides the population into two opposing classes
The working class has only three alternatives:
--to cooperate with the capitalists (let the owner do whatever they want and pay
them whatever)
--to form unions and try to modify social conditions
--to make revolutions
Things change when you have factories, the way you produce things changes, as you
change means of productions, changes relationships
Social class differs in every society
Differences in social position result from differences in peoples relations to the
means of production
At both ends of the class ladder, class stability over time is maintained by
That is why poverty and wealth is self-perpetuating from one generation to the next
Dominant Ideology: very hard to get the poorer classes to get off their bums and
overthrow their bosses, because they grew up thinking rich people deserve to be rich
and poor people poor
The main social institutions of society including inheritance and even education
ensure that the poor stay poor
For Marx, a key question is how members of the social class can gain class awareness
The question for Marx is, how does a class in itself become a class for itself
For Marx, somehow he has to get into the heads of the poor that they can become a
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