Weberian sociology
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Weberian sociology. Weberianism. Society is divided into many classes including petty bourgeoisie, bureaucrats which are created because of the rise of capitalism. This is different to the dichotomous ideas of Marxism.

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Weberian sociology

Weberian sociology


  • Society is divided into many classes including petty bourgeoisie, bureaucrats which are created because of the rise of capitalism.

  • This is different to the dichotomous ideas of Marxism.

  • Inequality within society is created from three factors; Party (power), wealth and status.

Weber s view of inequality
Weber’s view of Inequality

  • Differed to Marx’s view as he thought inequality of income is caused by the lack of qualifications or lack of “Party”.

  • Whilst Marx argued that inequality was inevitable within capitalism, Weber saw the interconnection between classes as too complex to think that.

  • People have different statuses, which can be used to understand unemployment and inequality.

  • E.g. why do Afro-Caribbeans have higher unemployment and incarceration rate

Weber scenario 1
Weber Scenario 1

A company has decided to cut its workforce and outsource its workers abroad. Marxism would say that union membership stopping this is an uprising and class consciousness. However Weber would argue it is an example of “Party” interests and shows inequality as not so simple as class conflict.

Evidence 1
Evidence 1

  • Unions Strike- 70s/80s. This is a textbook case of Party inequality. In the 70s and 80s, the miners unions owned vast amounts of power from political parties (The Labour Party was and still is funded mostly by trade unions). They would go on strike to receive pay rises and secure more rights. Despite being part of the proletariats, they had serious power over their employers (until Margaret Thatcher took on the miners and won, creating vast poverty and unemployment in the North and Wales that has existed right up until the present

Weber scenario 2
Weber Scenario 2

Which one of these surgeons have the highest status? Which one has worked the hardest to become a surgeon? Why?

Weber scenario 3
Weber Scenario 3

Now Eric (the chav) has fallen in love with Suzzy (a middle class, “nerdy” Chinese girl). Suzzy’s dad is a businessman whilst Eric doesn’t know his dad whilst his mum lives on benefits with the occasional job. Eric has a high status at school due to his peers and his high street credit reputation (though low status among teachers). Suzzy on the other is quiet and thoughtful but has low street credit but has a high status among peers. Weber would see this as a complex interrelation of inequality because, despite the middle class value of Suzzy, Eric has a high social relationship within his subculture and if he became a crime lord, he would have comparative power, wealth and subculture status to a middle class person like Suzzy

Positives of weber
Positives of Weber

  • Goes beyond just class- looks to race, gender and disability as problems for people

  • Gives practical guidance in reducing poverty by increasing qualifications of those in poverty.

  • Highly supported theories on the political Left, particularly the Liberal Democrats (who pledged to increase education standards but backfired) and with New Labour’s Employment Discrimination laws

  • It understands the structure of society is very complex

  • Given rise to Interpretivist theory

Criticisms of weber
Criticisms of Weber

  • C Wright Mills- both understands Weberian ideas and criticises Weberian ideas. In Power Elite (1956) he understood that the elite owned power (as well as wealth) but looked at class struggles, which is a typically Marxist thing.

  • Marxists would claim the decline in trade unions and deindustrialisationhas led to a decline in the idea of “Party” for working classes.

  • Inequality is increasing (British GINI has increased from 0.29 in 70s to 0.34 today

  • May ignore society structures because of the interpretivist model of sociology