Social Class And Inequality Essay

Words: 421
Pages: 2

Social class and inequality are closely related, and sociological theorists such as Marx, Weber, and Parsons have examined the implications. Marx’s theory divides society into two separate social classes, the bourgeoisie, the upper class, and the proletariat, the lower class. In Marx’s theory, the bourgeoisie own and control the means of production, while the proletariat only has their labor to offer to the bourgeoisie to make a living. Marx coined the term historical materialist, which states that class dynamics shape the economy, which in turn develops the structure of society. The dynamic between the two classes is unequal, and Marx theorizes that the dynamic ends with the revolution of the lower class against the upper class.
Weber expanded on Marx’s theory, believing that the two-social class theory was too simplistic. In Weber’s theory, there are four social classes: working, petty bourgeoisie, professional bourgeoisie, and propertied. Weber also expanded on Marx’s theory, by claiming that social class is not only determined by owning the means of production, but also considers political power and social status. The propertied, the highest class that owned the means of production, shared the power in society with the
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Society has more than just two social classes, but Marx’s theory laid the groundwork for future sociologists to explain inequality. Weber offers a better explanation, expanding society into four social classes, and adds political and social power into the formula. However, Weber’s theory does not touch upon important factors of social inequality such as race. Finally, Parson’s explanation of inequality, citing structural functionalism and the implementation of status-role is present in most societies, explaining inequality as necessary. The functionality of society does inherently create inequality, but fulfills necessary roles to keep society