Blog #5: “The Distribution of Power within the Political Community – Weber

downloadWeber continues to debate with Marx ideas of class position, however Weber argues about there are different forms of power connected to economic which are: classes, status, and political parties. Weber does not use Marx’s view of the classes but he uses a more difficult view of interest that shape people through their actions and the way society is organize. Weber mentioned that status is a ‘social honor’ or ‘prestige’ of economic power. From what I can understand, the economic power of status is how we are able gain money through our means. An example of a status is having an education degree but not earning a lot of money after getting that degree. But someone who does not have an education degree and gain money through criminal means will have economic power but will not have that status as of an academic person. Weber mentioned that ‘power’ may bring legal order but this is an “additional factor that enhances the chance to hold power or honor; but it cannot always secure them” (Edles & Appelrouth, 193). Even though ‘status’ for different groups of people does not have the same privileges as other groups means that there is some type of stratification in society. Majority of the stratification of status in any society indicated that there are monopolization in society. This society will have stratification within the status of different class of people because the society needs to continue existing by economic means, even if they must exploit the class that is suffering from the hands of the economic stress to exist.

Weber states that the way we get ‘status’ honor is by ‘status order’. The definition of ‘status order’ from Weber is “the social order and the economic order are related in a similar manner to the legal order” and “status order is strongly influenced by…economic order…which economic goods and services are distributed and used” (Edles & Appelrouth, 193,194). Weber definition of ‘classes’ is not ‘communities’ but ‘bases for social action’ (Ibid, 194). An example of an social action of classes is the Feminist movement in the United States where women were getting paid less than a man does from doing the same job. In addition, the United States had different classes of people working the same jobs getting paid less due to their ethnic/race backgrounds. Another example of this is the African-American population treated less than human even after 1864 Civil War between the North and the South. Another example, is today in United States immigrant Hispanic groups are not getting paid at least the minimum wage which is another visible social class (class struggle, stratification). Weber gave an example of a “status group” are the “slave or serf” which is another type of class that did not have much economic power (Ibid, 1940. Weber mentioned that there are three types of ‘class’ that makes it a ‘class situation’ (Ibid). These three types are:

“1) a number of people have in common a specific causal component of their life chances…2)this component is represented exclusively of goods and opportunities for income, and 3) is represented under the conditions of the commodity or labor markets” (Ibid, 194).

Being a worker and gaining an education at the same time is similar to a status and a class at the same time, in my opinion. However, working and spending my income in things that are necessary must be spending to continue to strive for something better and for future accomplishment (for the future family, or your own life).  Weber states that “class situation is…ultimately market situation” (Ibid) which I believe in 2014 United States people (in any class) is actually striving to be in a good economic shape than being in the poor class.

Lastly, Weber states that party as a political party not a celebration of party. Weber mentioned that “parties resided in the sphere of power” (Ibid, 200) and their mission is to gain “social power” to influence “social action” no matter what is the ‘social action’. Weber states that parties may present interest of class situation as an individual case.  Conversly, the sociological meaning of parties is what kind of social action the party is influenced by (what kind of struggle this social group is being burden with) status being stratified by classes.

Reference:

Edles, Laura and Appelrouth, Scott. 2010. Sociological Theory in the Classical Era: text and readings 2nd edition. Pine Forge Press Sage Publications.

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