Reading for Week 2. Book: Sense of Sociability, Chapter: 6
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SS6: Classes and Workplaces
This chapter is about how social order is affected by class conflict.
Social class is not defined by income, rather groups of ppl who share a common economic condition,
interest or (Marx) relationship to the means of production (to tech and capital).
For Marx; 2classes (have and have-nots, the owners and the workers; locked in conflict)
Struggle between 2 classes, owners want to (1) lower labour costs and (2)increase prices. Workers struggle
with low wages, create unions, unite to improve work conditions, job security, wages.
Ppl in same classes, should want acknowledge their common interest and situation, and go from individual
well-being to the collective well-being of the class (class awareness/consciousness).
Development for class-awareness is hard, as legislators and employers takes step to prevent unions from
forming; or from within, members and heads of unions may disagree on issues. The workplace is
becoming a ‘contested terrain’.
Too simple for today
Marx’s idea of two class is too simple for today’s complex social class relations. 1st, don’t need to own a
business to manage the production, managers rather than owners have this role. Ei; the economic
downturn was caused due to mismanagement from managers rather than owners.
There also exist the rise of a new class (neither owners nor workers) such as professors, civil servants,
judges, officials, ppl who have knowledge/special skills. Though don’t own production, they do have
significant power and authority, as much as those who are owners. Thus not all positions are exploitive,
though still have incredible power (politicians).
Obtaining wealth w/o exploitation, such as famous movie start and sports athlete.
Theory of Stratification
Other sociologist agree that inequality is due to the theory of stratification (by Davis and Moore). Stating
that societies put a value on different career depending on their social importance and indispensability.
Careers such as doctors, teachers have more weight and importance than car salesmen or clerks who are in
fact easily replaceable, whereas the latter jobs require skill and knowledge. Ppl are willing to see high-
status jobs get paid more than the others. Diff societies will put diff values on diff careers based on their
cultural and religious beliefs, thus in a sense; social inequality is due to shared values within a society.
Stratifications fails to account for the diff in range pay 30 yrs ago compared to now. Or diff in salary
ranges for diff capitalist societies (germany vs. US). Or careers serving no social need, yet whose pay is
Thus; inequality is not only due to Marx’s idea of on which side of production we stand, but also due to
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