Classical and modern explanations of social inequality

What is the purpose of that person or that class of persons? Are you surprised by that question?

Based on a dialectical materialist account of history, Marxism posited that capitalismlike previous socioeconomic systems, would inevitably produce internal tensions leading to its own destruction. Marx ushered in radical change, advocating proletarian revolution and freedom from the ruling classes.

At the same time, Karl Marx was aware that most of the people living in capitalist societies did not see how the system shaped the entire operation of society.

Just as modern individuals see private property and the right to pass that property on to their children as natural, many of the members in capitalistic societies see the rich as having earned their wealth through hard work and education, while seeing the poor as lacking in skill and initiative.

Marx rejected this type of thinking and termed it false consciousness, explanations of social problems as the shortcomings of individuals rather than the flaws of society.

In general, Marx wanted the proletarians to rise up against the capitalists and overthrow the capitalist system. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life.

Classical and modern explanations of social inequality

It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or — this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms — with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto.

From forms of development of the productive forces, these relations turn into their fetters. Then an era of social revolution begins.

The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure. In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic — in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out.

Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production.

No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society.

Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation.

Social theory - Wikipedia

In broad outline, the Asiatic, ancient, [A] feudal and modern bourgeois modes of production may be designated as epochs marking progress in the economic development of society. The prehistory of human society accordingly closes with this social formation.

Gumplowicz, in Grundriss der Soziologie Outlines of Sociology,describes how civilization has been shaped by conflict between cultures and ethnic groups.

This article is concerned with social and political equality. In its prescriptive usage, ‘equality’ is a loaded and ‘highly contested’ concept. It then considers alternative explanations that are under-researched in the United States: social capital and social exclusion. Social capital is defined as “the social and economic spaces in which individuals reside and which provides them with certain group interactions, networks, and resources that help to inform their strategic actions. State the major arguments and assumptions of the various sociological explanations of deviance. many studies support conflict theory’s view that the roots of crimes by poor people lie in social inequality and economic deprivation (Barkan, ). The Development of Modern Society; Social Interaction in Everyday Life; End-of.

Gumplowicz theorized that large complex human societies evolved from the war and conquest. The winner of a war would enslave the losers; eventually a complex caste system develops.

European civilization may perish, over flooded by barbaric tribes. But if any one believes that we are safe from such catastrophes he is perhaps yielding to an all too optimistic delusion. There are no barbaric tribes in our neighbourhood to be sure — but let no one be deceived, their instincts lie latent in the populace of European states.

At the most basic level Ward saw human nature itself to be deeply conflicted between self-aggrandizement and altruism, between emotion and intellect, and between male and female.

These conflicts would be then reflected in society and Ward assumed there had been a "perpetual and vigorous struggle" among various "social forces" that shaped civilization.

Durkheim — saw society as a functioning organism.

Classical and modern explanations of social inequality

Functionalism concerns "the effort to impute, as rigorously as possible, to each feature, custom, or practice, its effect on the functioning of a supposedly stable, cohesive system," [8] The chief form of social conflict that Durkheim addressed was crime.

Durkheim saw crime as "a factor in public health, an integral part of all healthy societies. While Marx focused on the way individual behaviour is conditioned by social structureWeber emphasized the importance of " social action ," i. Wright Mills has been called the founder of modern conflict theory.This article is concerned with social and political equality.

In its prescriptive usage, ‘equality’ is a loaded and ‘highly contested’ concept. Theories of Social Inequality In briefly evaluating the classical and modern explanations of social inequality, it is essential that we step outside the realm of our own lives, class position, and discard any assumptions we might have about the nature of inequality.

It then considers alternative explanations that are under-researched in the United States: social capital and social exclusion. Social capital is defined as “the social and economic spaces in which individuals reside and which provides them with certain group interactions, networks, and resources that help to inform their strategic actions.

The main classical and modern explanations of the causes of social, economic and political inequality. Key issues: the consequences of inequality for individuals and groups; the relative importance of economic, political and social forces in creating and sustaining inequality; class.

Origins of Inequality in Human Societies (Routledge Advances in Sociology Book ) - Kindle edition by Bernd Baldus.

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Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Origins of Inequality in Human Societies (Routledge Advances in Sociology Book ). Sociology focuses on the systematic understanding of social interaction, social organization, social institutions, and social change.

Major themes in sociological thinking include the interplay between the individual and society, how society is both stable and changing, the causes and consequences of social inequality, and the social.

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