Blog#1 Weber on status and idea of race

Weber focuses on three dimensions of power that are class, status and party.

So the idea of race would most probably fall into the category of status.  Status refers to an effective claim to positive social esteem. Powerful groups claim positive social honor and privileges for themselves and at the same time impose negative social honor and privileges on less powerful groups.  Almost allstatus honors of groups rely on the idea of usurpation. Usurpation is the claiming of social honor through the illegal use of force.  The primary motivation a group has for claiming social honor is  usually to monopolize economic and political opportunities for members of the status group.   After positive status honor is gained, it is much easier to set laws that assure positive privilege for positive status groups and impose negative privilege for negative status groups.

So, if we were to talk about a capitalist economy, Weber would state that chances determine ones class nothing having to deal with race, gender, ect …   but sadly even after the civil rights movement, the U.S still has unspoken institutionalized racism were being in a high class wont necessarily mean one is getting the honor and privileges that usually go along with it.


One response to “Blog#1 Weber on status and idea of race

  1. Nice work, J. Yes, a range of attributes such as ethnicity/race, physical attributes, education, occupation, zipcode, etc. have bearing on social status — but what they signify varies over time and place. Weber notes how it’s quite arbitrary which features end up being socially salient, e.g., it’s possible to imagine that having blue eyes, in a certain context, might mean everything as far as status goes. And how these different attributes mix together is critical.

    Your remarks on usurpation, a concept I’m not very familiar with, are interesting. Usurpation, as in “the claiming of social honor through the illegal use of force,” is something I’m sure Weber observed in his vast historical research. But this method of achieving status isn’t so central in his theory of status honor. Also remember that status always relates to a social circle or community. Of course there’s a sense that there’s just one big status hierarchy that applies to the whole society, but it’s helpful to think about how the principles of status rankings shift with respect to different communities. For example, it may be true that in mainstream culture, making money through illegal means is frowned upon, but within smaller subcultures that stigma may be absent (and extra respect might actually be given to rule breaking or “hustling” of different kinds).

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