Do Classical Approaches to Class Remain Relevant to Contemporary Societies? Your Answer Should Refer to the Work of Marx and/or Weber

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Do classical approaches to class remain relevant to contemporary societies? Your answer should refer to the work of Marx and/or Weber. ‘The word class has been used to describe broad and diffuse groupings within a national population that are seen as forming a set of layers or strata in a hierarchy, as in the terms ‘upper’, ‘middle’ and ‘lower’ class’. (Crompton and Scott, 2000, pg.1) Class has been a key subject in sociological debate. Recently however the debate has shifted from the classical questions that Marx and Weber were asking over a century ago- How is class defined? What are the elements that make up a social class? Too the question of whether or not class is relevant anymore with regards to the contemporary societies in which we live. The classical approaches of Marx and Weber and their criticisms will be discussed first, and then the theories relating to class of contemporary sociologists Giddens and Bourdieu In order to tackle the question of whether or not classical approaches are relevant to contemporary societies, we need to look at the ideas on class of Marx and Weber. Karl Marx was a late 19th Century thinker. He saw class as being the central category for analysing social relation and social struggles. This is because he believed that class struggles drive the social changes in our societies ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’. (Marx, Engels, 1848, pg.8) He viewed class objectively, defining it by the ownership of property. The class struggle’s which Marx refers to above is that of the Bourgeoisie, who own the means of production and the proletariat, who sell their labour. Marx believed that the two classes are based on a contradiction, this ascends from the fact that the workers who make the commodities do not get the profit that is made. Instead the profit goes to the Bourgeoisie, over time

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