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Weber’s Class and Status

Blog #3

According to Max Weber, a person’s social status is based on the social relationships that they have with people within a community, whereas a person’s social class is based on the financial status in a community. In Martin Scorsese’s movie “Goodfellas”, mobsters were trying to increase their status in order to become a “Made Man.” When a mobster gets “made” they are known as a feared and respected crime boss in the mafia world. Crime bosses have a lot of power to decide what “hits” should be made and when to make certain moves. In “Goodfellas,” Tommy is chosen to be a “made man.” His closest friends, Henry and Jimmy were extremely excited to know that Tommy’s status was being increased in the mafia. Henry describes Jimmy’s excitement by saying, “As far as Jimmy was concerned, with Tommy being made, it was like we were all being made.” Henry also goes on to say that both he and Jimmy could not become made men since they were not “100% Italian.” In order for someone to upgrade their status as a mobster, their ethnic background was factored in. The only thing that Jimmy and Henry could do was to keep close relations with Tommy so that his high status could brush off on them.

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2 responses to “Weber’s Class and Status

  1. Becoming a “made man” is an excellent example of the workings of the *status* system of social stratification, a position that brings *respect* above all other benefits (such as strict monetary rewards, although they also come, but as a function of the status upgrade). This example is particularly good in that it also rests on ethnic considerations (i.e., beliefs about common origins), in contrast to purely utilitarian or rational principals (i.e., regardless of how well a certain individual might carry out the tasks of being a mafia boss, if he lacks the requisite heritage, he is ineligible).

    P.S.: In the future, when you want to embed a youtube video, simply paste the url on a separate line in your post — that should do the trick.

  2. Great way to link Max Weber’s idea of social status to this movie. When Tommy gets killed by these “made men,” neither Jimmy or Henry could have done anything to avenge his friend because they were not “made men,” while these men were. They were too high up in rank compared to them, so they just had to accept it and move on.

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