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The three-component theory of stratification, More widely known as Weberian stratification or the three class system, was developed by German sociologist Max Weber with class, status and party as distinct ideal types. Weber developed a multidimensional approach to social stratification that reflects the interplay among wealth, prestige and power.
Class, status and power have not only a great deal of effect within their individual areas but also a great deal of influence over the other areas.
According to Weber, there are two basic dimensions of power: the possession of power and the exercising of power.
This essay was written shortly before World War I and was published posthumously in 1922 as part of Weber's Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft.It was translated into English in the 1940s as "Class, Status, Party" and has been re-translated as "The distribution of power within the community: Classes, Stände, Parties".
According to Weber, the ability to possess power derives from the individual's ability to control various "social resources". "The mode of distribution gives to the propertied a monopoly on the possibility of transferring property from the sphere of use as 'wealth' to the sphere of 'capital,' that is, it gives them the entrepreneurial function and all chances to share directly or indirectly in returns on capital" (Lemert 2004:116). These resources can be anything and everything: they might include land, capital, social respect, physical strength, and intellectual knowledge.
The ability to exercise power takes a number of different forms, but all involve the idea that it means the ability to get your own way with others, regardless of their ability to resist you. "For example, if we think about an individual's chances of realizing their own will against someone else, it is reasonable to believe that the person's social prestige, class position, and membership in a political group will have an effect on these chances" (Hurst 2007:202). In terms of understanding the relationship between power and social stratification, Weber theorized the various ways in which societies are organized in hierarchical systems of domination and subordination using the several major concepts.
"Class, at its core, is an economic concept; it is the position of individuals in the market that determines their class position. And it is how one is situated in the marketplace that directly affects one's life chances" (Hurst 2007:203). This was theorized by Weber on the basis of "unequal access to material resources". For example, if someone possesses something that you want or need then this makes him potentially more powerful than you. He is in a dominant position and you are in a subordinate position because he controls access to a desired social resource. A classic illustration here is the relationship between an employer and employee.
"The existence of status groups most often shows itself in the form of
If you respect someone or view him as your social superior, then he will potentially be able to exercise power over you (since you will respond positively to his instructions / commands). In this respect, social status is a social resource simply because he may have it while you may not. "Not all power, however entails social honor: The Typical American Boss, as well as the typical big speculator, deliberately relinquishes social honor. Quite generally, 'mere economic' power, and especially 'naked' money power, is by no means a recognized basis or social honor" (Lemert 2004:116).
Note: The German word Stand, plural Stände (English, "status" or "status group") is sometimes left untranslated in Weber,in order to keep in view the origins of this concept in medieval guilds, professions, ethnic identities, and feudal classifications.
Parties are associations that aim at securing "power within an organization [or the state] for its leaders in order to attain ideal or material advantages for its active members" (Hurst 2007:206). This form of power can be related to the way in which the State is organized in modern social systems (involving the ability to make laws, for example). If you can influence this process of law creation then you will be in a potentially powerful position. Thus, by your ability to influence a decision-making process you possess power, even though you may not directly exercise that power personally. Political parties are the organizational means to possess power through the mechanism of the State and they include not just formally organized parties, but any group that is organized to influence the way in which power is exercised legitimately through the machinery of the State. "Since parties aim at such goals as getting their programs developed or accepted and getting positions of influence within organizations, it is clear that they operate only within a rational order within which these goals are possible to attain and only when there is a struggle for power" (Hurst 2007:206).
Social action is in direct relation to "political or party power" in combination with the class situation. The influence of laws is based on the social action of members of the classes. "The direction of interests may vary according to whether or not social action of a larger or smaller portion of those commonly affected by the class situation, or even an association among them, e.g., a trade union, has grown out of the class situation, from which the individual may expect promising results for himself" (Lemert 2004:117). "The degree in which "social action" and possibly associations emerge from the mass behavior of the members of a class is linked to general cultural conditions, especially to those of an intellectual sort. It is also likened to the extent of the contrasts that have already evolved" (Lemert 2004:118). "Class-conscious action is most likely if, first, [Weber says] 'the connection between the causes and consequences of the "class situation"' are transparent, or clear. If individuals can plainly see that there is a connection between the structure of the economic system and what happens to them in terms of life chances, class action is more likely" (Hurst 2007:204). The greater the numbers within these class positions, will increase the chance that they will rise up in action.
"It is noncontroversial that the class situation in which each individual finds himself represents a limitation on his scope, tends to keep him within the class. It acts as an obstacle to any rise into a higher class, and as a pair of water wings with respect to the classes below…Class type, relations with class fellows, power over outward resources adapted to the class situation, and so on" (Schumpeter 1951:163-164). In capitalist society movement between classes is a possibility. Hence the use of the term "The American Dream" to show the ability of people to ascend to a higher class through hard work and ingenuity. "Class composition is forever changing, to the point where there may be a completely new set of families" (Schumpeter 1951:165).
Weber saw four classes: the propertied class, the non-propertied class, the petit bourgeoisie and the manual labourer class.
Maximilian Karl Emil Weber was a German sociologist, historian, jurist, and political economist, who is regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of modern Western society. His ideas profoundly influence social theory and research. Despite being recognized as one of the fathers of sociology along with Auguste Comte, Karl Marx, and Émile Durkheim, Weber saw himself not as a sociologist but as a historian.
Max Horkheimer was a German philosopher and sociologist who was famous for his work in critical theory as a member of the Frankfurt School of social research. Horkheimer addressed authoritarianism, militarism, economic disruption, environmental crisis, and the poverty of mass culture using the philosophy of history as a framework. This became the foundation of critical theory. His most important works include Eclipse of Reason (1947), Between Philosophy and Social Science (1930–1938) and, in collaboration with Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947). Through the Frankfurt School, Horkheimer planned, supported and made other significant works possible.
A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory centered on models of social stratification which occur in a class society, in which people are grouped into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the upper, middle and lower classes. Membership in a social class can for example be dependent on education, wealth, occupation, income, and belonging to a particular subculture or social network.
Social status is the level of social value a person is considered to hold. More specifically, it refers to the relative level of respect, honour, assumed competence, and deference accorded to people, groups, and organizations in a society. Status is based in widely shared beliefs about who members of a society think holds comparatively more or less social value, in other words, who they believe is better in terms of competence or moral traits. Status is determined by the possession of various characteristics culturally believed to indicate superiority or inferiority. As such, people use status hierarchies to allocate resources, leadership positions, and other forms of power. In doing so, these shared cultural beliefs make unequal distributions of resources and power appear natural and fair, supporting systems of social stratification. Status hierarchies appear to be universal across human societies, affording valued benefits to those who occupy the higher rungs, such as better health, social approval, resources, influence, and freedom.
Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, generally translated as "community and society", are categories which were used by the German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies in order to categorize social relationships into two dichotomous sociological types which define each other. Max Weber, a founding figure in sociology, also wrote extensively about the relationship between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. Weber wrote in direct response to Tönnies.
The term social order can be used in two senses: In the first sense, it refers to a particular system of social structures and institutions. Examples are the ancient, the feudal, and the capitalist social order. In the second sense, social order is contrasted to social chaos or disorder and refers to a stable state of society in which the existing social structure is accepted and maintained by its members. The problem of order or Hobbesian problem, which is central to much of sociology, political science and political philosophy, is the question of how and why it is that social orders exist at all.
Social mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between social strata in a society. It is a change in social status relative to one's current social location within a given society. This movement occurs between layers or tiers in an open system of social stratification. Open stratification systems are those in which at least some value is given to achieved status characteristics in a society. The movement can be in a downward or upward direction. Markers for social mobility, such as education and class, are used to predict, discuss, and learn more about an individual or a group's mobility in society.
The German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920) formulated a three-component theory of stratification that defines a status group as a group of people who, within a society, can be differentiated on the basis of non-economic qualities such as honour, prestige, ethnicity, race and religion.
The sociologist Max Weber formulated a three-component theory of stratification in which he defined party class as a group of people that can be differentiated on the basis of their affiliations with other engaged members in the political domain.
Max Weber distinguished three ideal types of legitimate political leadership, domination and authority. He wrote about these three types of domination in both his essay The Three Types of Legitimate Rule which was published in his masterwork Economy and Society, and in his classic speech "Politics as a Vocation".
Class analysis is research in sociology, politics and economics from the point of view of the stratification of the society into dynamic classes. It implies that there is no universal or uniform social outlook, rather that there are fundamental conflicts that exist inherent to how society is currently organized.
Social stratification refers to a society's categorization of its people into groups based on socioeconomic factors like wealth, income, race, education, ethnicity, gender, occupation, social status, or derived power. As such, stratification is the relative social position of persons within a social group, category, geographic region, or social unit.
Social position is the position of an individual in a given society and culture. A given position may belong to many individuals. Social position influences social status. Social position can help to identify a person's position within the social hierarchy in a society.
Social conflict is the struggle for agency or power in society. Social conflict occurs when two or more people oppose each other in social interaction, each exerts social power with reciprocity in an effort to achieve incompatible goals whilst preventing the other from attaining their own. It is a social relationship wherein action is intentionally oriented to carry out the actor's own will despite the resistance of others.
Class stratification is a form of social stratification in which a society is separated into parties whose members have different access to resources and power. An economic, natural, cultural, religious, interests and ideal rift usually exists between different classes.
Life chances is a social science theory of the opportunities each individual that has helped to improve their quality of life. The concept was introduced by German sociologist Max Weber in the 1920s. It is a probabilistic concept, describing how likely it is, given certain factors, that an individual's life will turn out a certain way. According to this theory, life chances are positively correlated with one's socioeconomic status.
Social inequality occurs when resources in a given society are distributed unevenly, typically through norms of allocation, that engender specific patterns along lines of socially defined categories of persons. It is the differentiation preference of access of social goods in the society brought about by power, religion, kinship, prestige, race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and class. Social inequality usually implies the lack of equality of outcome, but may alternatively be conceptualized in terms of the lack of equality of access to opportunity. The social rights include labor market, the source of income, health care, and freedom of speech, education, political representation, and participation.
Marxian class theory asserts that an individual's position within a class hierarchy is determined by their role in the production process, and argues that political and ideological consciousness is determined by class position. A class is those who share common economic interests, are conscious of those interests, and engage in collective action which advances those interests. Within Marxian class theory, the structure of the production process forms the basis of class construction.
The term bureaucracy may refer both to a body of non-elected governing officials (bureaucrats) and to an administrative policy-making group. Historically, a bureaucracy was a government administration managed by departments staffed with non-elected officials. Today, bureaucracy is the administrative system governing any large institution, whether publicly owned or privately owned. The public administration in many jurisdictions and sub-jurisdictions exemplifies bureaucracy, but so does any centralized hierarchical structure of an institution, e.g. hospitals, academic entities, business firms, professional societies, social clubs, etc.
In sociology, authority is the legitimate power which one person or a group possesses and practices over another. The element of legitimacy is vital to the notion of authority and is the main means by which authority is distinguished from the more general concept of power.