Responses to Marx: Weber and Elite Theorists Sara Haviland Lindsay Hirschfeld Natalie Spring Marx MARXISM- Classes labeled based on their ownership Who? Owners of? Bourgeoisie Capital Proletariat Labor Petite Bourgeoisie Mind/Mid Marx, continued Marx believed several things: п‚Ў The Proletariat sells their labor to the Bourgeoisie and in the process become alienated from labor, product, species being, and society. п‚Ў The majority of the middle class (Petit Bourgeoisie) will eventually fall into the ranks of the Proletariat. п‚Ў Revolution must & will occur in order for any massive societal change in status. So if Marx isnвЂ™t rightвЂ¦ Maybe Weberian thought? Max Weber п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў Trained as an economist, interested in the increasing rationalization of capitalist society Critique of MarxвЂ™s notions of ownership based classes Stratification based on power. Power matters more than a jobвЂ™s function or the state of ownership of the means of production. Classes, status groups, and parties are вЂњphenomena of the distribution of power within the communityвЂќ (Grusky, 132) Weber: Class п‚Ў п‚Ў Class is defined by economic market opportunity Constituted when: пЃ¬ пЃ¬ пЃ¬ п‚Ў a number of people with a common causal aspect in their life chances, this aspect is economic in nature related to acquisition of goods and prospect of income, and this component is within the scope of the commodity or labor markets Class conflict exists between two or more classes involved in antagonisms conditioned by the market situation Weber: Status п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў Status groups, unlike classes, are communities Defined by the life chances given a certain amount of positive or negative prestige and honor Shown through oneвЂ™s style of life. Castes evolve when status stratification creates closed groups, which are guaranteed by laws, conventions, and rituals. Often underscored by вЂњethnicвЂќ differences. Status, continued п‚Ў п‚Ў вЂњAs to the general effect of the status order, only one consequence can be statedвЂ¦: the hindrance of the free development of the market occurs first for those goods which status groups directly withheld from free exchange by monopolizationвЂќ (Grusky, 140). Stratification based on patterns of consumption, rather than acquisition (which stratifies class). Weber: Party п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў Parties are groups interested in advancing certain causes Concerned with culling and exerting power Require communities with rational order and an available staff of persons Shaped differently based on whether society is stratified on class or status Class, Status, and Party п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў Class = any group of people in the same class situation, i.e. economically-defined life chances or market opportunity Status = stratified levels of prestige and honor within the social order Party = interest groups which are associated with the realm of power and power relations Weber: Social Closure п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў Mechanisms provide ways to close off opportunities to other classes, status groups, or individuals Most market relationships are open Relationships are closed for several reasons: пЃ¬ пЃ¬ пЃ¬ п‚Ў To maintain quality Protect certain groups against a shrinking number of advantages in relation to consumption Attenuation of opportunities for acquisition necessitates social closure to maintain, or enhance, position Credentialism is one method of social closure Weberian Approach, Restated п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў Parkin challenges Marxian class conflict models, stating that the distinction between laborer and capitalist does not reveal exploitation in the modern economy, but rather shows mere differentiation Believes WeberвЂ™s idea of class definition by market opportunities, life-chances, and symbolic rewards is more accurate Class conflict can be understood as the relation of each class to modes of social closure пЃ¬ пЃ¬ п‚Ў Two types of social closure are exclusion and usurpation Property is a form of social closure Classes tend to reproduce themselves ParkinвЂ™s Social Classes Collectivist exclusion Communal groups Individualist exclusion Social classes Segmental status groups Elite Theorists п‚Ў п‚Ў An adolescent period in the life course of Weberian Thought. A class that rules and one that is ruled Gaetano Mosca "The Ruling ClassвЂќ Main point? пЃ¬ There are two classes of people, the Rulers and the Ruled. Ruling Classa. Few b. Perform all political functions, c. Collects and enjoys power. Ruled Class a. Numerous b. Controlled by legal means c. Give power to Rulers (no choice) Mosca, continued п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў The ruling class uses legal means (which they control) to codify their power While the ruled might one day revolt, there is always a minority that will emerge to rule after a ruler is deposed. Mosca views the Ruling Class in legal terms now and presents varying ways people may ascend to the ruling class. (war, birth, religious elders, land, etc) C. Wright Mills вЂњThe Power EliteвЂќ Main Point? пЃ¬ п‚Ў вЂњThose political, economic, and military circles which as an intricate set of overlapping cliques share decisionsвЂ¦in so far as national events are decided, the power elite are those who decide them.вЂќ In America, since there was not a feudal period the bourgeoisie were able to monopolize prestige, power, and wealth. However, they also tend to deny that they hold power, and instead insist they are a scattered bunch of individuals. Regardless, the power elite influence the ways society views religion, education, and the family. Mills, continued п‚Ў Levels oвЂ™ Power (within the elite) пЃ¬ пЃ¬ пЃ¬ п‚Ў Power Elite Professional Politicians Celebrities (but without power) вЂњHistory is merely one thing after another; history is meaningless in that it is not the realization of any determinate plot.вЂќ Michael Useem вЂњThe Inner CircleвЂќ Main Point? пЃ¬ п‚Ў The Inner Circle пЃ¬ п‚Ў Power Elite is passГ©вЂ™. The inner circle really runs America and Britain. Top business leaders (CEOвЂ™s who while running their own major corporations, also sit on numerous corporate boards. They are the ones who define what happens in politics in accordance for what is good for the members of their inner networks. The Inner circle works to support business. They socially are at the top, however business will always trump familial obligations or loyalties. While not unified in thought, they are the most prepared to act on behalf on their interests. Elite/Ruling Class Theorists, continued Pareto пЃ¬ п‚Ў Three major assumptions about social strat.: вЂњindividuals are physically, morally, and intellectually differentвЂ¦the social classes are not entirely distinct, even in countries where a caste system prevailsвЂ¦in modern civilized countries circulation among the various classes is exceedingly rapidвЂќ ( in HellerвЂ™s Structured Social Inequality, p. 34) Pareto, continued п‚Ў п‚Ў Elite are those who are the best at what they do вЂ“ can be divided into governing (directly and indirectly affect government) and nongoverning elite Special cases вЂ“ some are governing elites though not entirely qualified, and different groups move in and out of elite status (circulation of the elites). пЃ¬ пЃ¬ Elites can circulate due to supply and demand considerations Elite class can be eroded as members of the lower class join it, or due to the shortcomings of its members Pareto, continued п‚Ў Elite class always changing вЂ“ usually in a slow manner but occasionally in a revolutionary manner пЃ¬ пЃ¬ пЃ¬ Lower class may become superior in important ways Elite class may not maintain the force to squelch uprisings Elite class may not have the talents to rule, may be too decadent How is this different from the Marxist perspective? Are Social Classes Real? D. Grusky and J. SГёrensen п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў Problem: po-mo and SI theorists feel class is somewhat irrelevant вЂ“ life chances, attitudes, and behaviors of individuals are not so strictly tied to class Response: there is too much focus on social classes as big entities вЂ“ we should look at microclasses which are more sensitive to site of production and individual outcomes Micro-class is occupation based вЂ“ occs have вЂњsocial closure, class cultures, rent extraction, collective action, class awareness, and subjective identificationвЂќ (Weeden and Grusky 2003) Lukewarm Reception: п‚Ў We recognize, however, that our proposed alternative diverges so far from the canon that it may be as difficult for defenders of the faith to embrace as the postmodernist critique. Indeed, Goldthorpe (2002, p. 214) characterizes our approach as a вЂњremedyвЂ¦worse than the disorder diagnosedвЂќ (p. 214), while Portes (2000, p. 250) notes, вЂњsupporters of Marxist theories may justifiably respond that, with friends like these, who needs enemies?вЂќ (p. 250). -Weeden and Grusky 2003 A. SГёrensen п‚Ў п‚Ў п‚Ў What do we mean by class and status? What is the relative importance of each? What does power have to do with any of this, according to Weber? SГёrensen wants to distinguish between positions in social structure and the individuals in those positions Rent-generating assets вЂ“ rent is payment in addition to the one needed to employ the assets; вЂњindividuals not obtaining the rent are worse off than they would have been without the rent payment to those owning the assets in fixed supplyвЂќ Questions for Discussion Having considered the strengths and weaknesses of the Marxist and Weberian concepts of class, reflect on the alternative Grusky/ J. SГёrensen perspective and the A. SГёrensen perspective. пЃ¬ пЃ¬ Are these two perspectives really about class in the Marxist or Weberian sense? Are the levels of analysis useful, theoretically and/or practically (i.e. for research)? What are the strengths and weaknesses of both? Which of these two perspectives is more plausible? Should we just go back to Weber, Marx, or waiting for something better?