Compare and Contrast Marxist and Weberian Theories of Stratification Essay

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Q: Compare and Contrast Marxist and Weberian Theories of Stratification.
The purpose of this essay is to compare, contrast and critically evaluate Marxist and Weberian theories of stratification. To do this effectively this essay must explain and consider the main features, claims and perspectives of both Karl Marx and Max Weber. O’Donnell (1992) defines social stratification as “the division of a society or group into hierarchically ordered layers. Members of each layer are considered broadly equal but there is inequality between the layers.” Functionalist Durkheim (1858-1917) argued that the reason for the existence of stratification was because it was functional or beneficial to the order of society.
According to Browne et al (2009),
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According to Haralambos et al (2004), Marx suggested that as production increased and technology improved so too did the powers of production, therefore it created a change in property relations. These changes then resulted in more complex divisions of labour. Therefore the developments of economies brought forward the growth of social systems. Marx called this historical materialism. The way that society was developing in Western Europe at the time of Marx writing was more than an industrial society, he referred to this as a capitalist society. According to Fulcher et al (2007) Marx suggested that since the turn of the sixteenth century capitalists had built factories, manufacturing plants and workshops that employed a high percentage of the proletariat. He suggested that the way in which capitalists grew profits for themselves was through market exchange and exploitation of paid labour. These entrepreneurs of the capitalist era became better known as the ruling class according to Marx. They did not completely replace the more traditionally recognised feudalists, they merely displaced them, often through a violent revolution as in France. As in feudal times, it could be argued that they were responsible for the oppression, exploitation and alienation of the very workers that generated their wealth. Marx argued that because of this the superstructure no longer encouraged the growth of the economy, therefore if there was going to be