Criteria for stratification: Marx's class approach, social inequality...

Criteria for stratification: K. Marx's class approach, social inequality in the theories of M. Weber, PA Sorokin, multidimensional stratification

Determining the criteria of inequality and social stratification is one of the most important methodological problems of stratification theory. Even before the emergence of sociology, attempts were made to describe the structure of society on the basis of the position of various groups in relation to the state, authority, authority, access to the distribution of life benefits, and so on. The first to give a deep and systematic justification for the criteria of social inequality was K. Marx , whose name is strongly associated with the concepts class and the class approach in modern sociology and social knowledge.

The basis and the main criterion of social inequality and social stratification, Marx considered the division of labor, which determines the unequal position of individuals in social production, the difference in the roles they perform and the proportions of the social wealth they receive. In the process of the development of society, professional specialization occurred, a division into qualified and unskilled, executive and managerial, physical and mental labor. With the emergence of private property, a division is divided into those who possess it, and who is deprived of it and is in different forms of dependence on the owners. Thus, in slave-owning society slaves themselves are the property of slaveholders; in feudal society, where the main factor of production is land, there is a division into landowners (feudal lords) and dependent peasants who are forced to pay rent for the use of land. In bourgeois society, the class of capitalist owners K. Marx contrasted hired workers who were deprived of property and therefore forced to sell their labor. Specific historical classes depend on the mode of production underlying the social system.

Due to the common position in the system of social production, classes, according to K. Marx, have common economic interests, from which the common interests of political, etc., follow. At the same time, the interests of classes whose positions are opposite (owners and those who are deprived of property) have opposite interests. K. Marx and his followers called such classes antagonistic, i.e. irreconcilable. Therefore, classes are characterized by conflictual relations with each other, and the struggle between classes is regarded by Marxists as the main driving force of social development. However, classes do not always and do not immediately realize their interests. The class in the period of formation, not yet realized the objective community of interests that results not from specific local circumstances but from the unity of position in the economic mode of production, is called the class-in-itself. After The class develops a single "class consciousness" and there is an awareness of objective interests, they are formed into ideology, political position and political organization, it becomes classes-for-itself.

Many followers, as well as opponents who recognized the great heuristic value of Marx's theory of classes, criticized him for the lack of clear definitions, and tried to give their interpretations of the class. The definition given by В has widely spread. I. Lenin, in the work "Great Initiative" (1918): "Classes are large groups of people that differ in their place in the historically determined system of social production, according to their attitude (mostly fixed and formalized in laws) to the means of production, by their role in the social organization of labor, and consequently, by the methods of obtaining and the size of the share of social wealth that they have. Classes are such groups of people that others can assign to themselves, due to the difference in their place in a certain way of social economy. "

The class theory of social stratification, proposed by K. Marx, can be applied to any society in which there is a developed division of labor and private property. It does not deny other types of stratification, for example, class, but shifts the focus of research interest to the analysis of ownership relations to the means of production, explaining all other forms of inequality as secondary. At the same time, the class theory in the Marxian interpretation considers the entire diversity of social groups and their relations through the prism of the relations of ownership to the means of production. Then social groups, whose status is not directly deduced from such relations (clergy, intellectuals, bureaucracy, military, etc.), it is necessary to consider as "secondary" in relation to basic classes: for example, the intelligentsia as an "interlayer" in bourgeois society, etc. This approach leads to schematization, a certain simplification of the real social structure, and suggests that, according to the development of one or another mode of production, the basic classes crystallize: in capitalist society, small independent producers or artisans either go bankrupt and fill the ranks of the proletariat, or the bourgeois become rich.

M. Weber justified the theory of stratification, based on the pluralism of the criteria. The basis for stratification M. Weber classifies as follows.

1. Inequality in the distribution of economic benefits and the realization of economic interests, which determines the division of society into classes. Under the classes he, unlike K. Marx, understands the set of people united by the commonality of "chances" receipt of surplus product in the market of goods and services, as well as life experience and opportunities "to dispose of goods or qualifications for the purpose of generating income within the framework of this economic order." The most important factor for the appearance of chances in the conditions of market economy is property - as we see, in this M. Weber agrees with K. Marx. Property determines the opportunities to engage in entrepreneurial activity and successfully compete for the appropriation of surplus product. Those who are deprived of property (slaves, serfs, hired workers of all kinds) are divided into classes according to their qualifications and ability to provide certain services on the market. Representatives of the class have a variety of diverse interests, conditioned by their "chances" within the framework of this economic order, but they are not necessarily expressed in a single unified "class interest", which determines the joint actions of individuals belonging to the class. On the contrary, the interests defined by the "chances" on the market, more often lead, according to M. Weber, to joint actions of representatives of different classes for the realization of their goals, for example, entrepreneurs and employees in a capitalist enterprise must agree among themselves to achieve their economic goals. The main contradictions arising in the relations between classes, according to M. Weber, are determined by the inequality of the possibilities of realizing their own "chances" in the market, for example, in the formation of an acceptable price of labor, access to credit, etc., and not in the fundamental issue of the presence or absence of property. Thus, according to M. Weber, the class reflects economic stratification, which is not the only one, and is supplemented by other forms.

2. Correction of class situations by relations of status groups, or strata, which are based on the inequality of prestige, "honors", provided by society to a certain group, which M. Weber still calls "social evaluation". The German sociologist emphasizes that class and status belongings do not necessarily coincide, not necessarily the richest enjoy the greatest prestige. It often turns out that the same status group includes both the haves and the have-nots. The main content of "honors M. Weber refers to the commonality of the lifestyle of those who belong to the same status group, for example gentlemen attending one club. This community is the boundary of the status group, which is expressed in the refusal of relations with representatives of other groups, for example, from marriage. The social markers of belonging to a status group may be the privileges of using certain items, goods, performing any actions: wearing costumes and ornaments, using "special" food and drinks, entertainment, art classes, etc. Thus, status groups are associated with the separation of various social circles, with the allocation of "prestigious" and non-prestigious & quot ;. M. Weber notes that in his contemporary society, the "disqualified" groups are those that are associated with physical labor in one form or another, especially with heavy and dirty.

Social status M. Weber calls "real claims to positive or negative privileges with respect to social prestige, if it is based on one or more of the following criteria: a) lifestyle; b) formal education, consisting in practical or theoretical training and assimilation of an appropriate way of life; c) the prestige of birth and profession. "

Thus, M. Weber practically identifies the concept of social status with belonging to the stratum and distinguishes it from class affiliation as an expression of economic chances and interests. The stratum and class are not identical to each other, although they are interconnected by a multitude of various dependencies. So, in itself, the existence of a property or managerial position does not yet guarantee a high status, although it can facilitate its acquisition. There are hereditary statuses, determined by the inheritance of privileges and prestige.

3. Unequal power distribution, which determines the division into "political parties & quot ;. People of similar convictions are united in the party, which are not necessarily determined by class and status belonging, and they are not necessarily focused on realizing the interests of certain classes or strata. However, parties arise only in societies (communities) that have a rational organization of power, and reflect the struggle for power within the community.

The three-dimensional model of M. Weber's social stratification lies at the basis of modern approaches, involving the inclusion of multiple bases and criteria for dividing society into classes.

Another classic theory of stratification is the theory of P. A. Sorokin , who was a consistent critic of Marx's one-dimensional theory.

P. A. Sorokin distinguished three basic forms of stratification:

1) economic, consisting in an uneven distribution of material goods;

2) political, caused by an uneven distribution of power;

3) professional, based on the unequal value of different professions for society and on the inequality of their prestige and the size of the remuneration received.

All three forms of stratification have relative autonomy: a political leader is not necessarily the owner of a huge capital, and a large entrepreneur who owns a multi-million dollar state does not necessarily directly participate in political life and occupies high positions. However, there are three forms of stratification: the representatives of the highest political circles, as a rule, have a high qualification and prestigious profession and have a considerable fortune, and representatives of large business, one way or another, have political influence. And vice versa: the poor, as a rule, have non-prestigious professions and do not occupy high positions in the political sphere.

P. A. Sorokin polemised with K. Marx and his followers, insisting on the universality of social stratification, which he considered an unavoidable and necessary attribute of social life. Any social group is stratified in one form or another. None of the attempts to destroy economic, political or professional stratification has ever been successful throughout human history.

With the notion of multidimensional stratification, PA Sorokin is also connected with the concept of the "social space" he introduced, which in principle differs from the geometric or geographical space. The master and the slave can be physically close, but the social distance between them will be enormous. Moving in geographical space does not always lead to a change in the social position, and conversely, changing the social position does not always lead to a shift in geographical space.

Development of sociological theories of social stratification in the XX century. went in the direction of the complexity of the system of criteria that allow describing the social structure of society more accurately and in detail.

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