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Emma Rudd BMA

3A Explanations of Inequality and Difference

Class Explanations
Marx and Weber showed the deepest conflicts in society revolve around class issues such as
the distribution of income, wealth and power. Class structures have changed since they wrote
but Savage (2000) identifies certain reasons why class is still…

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Emma Rudd BMA

class system. Lastly the economic marketplace assumes a much more central and dominant
role in classbased societies. The economic marketplace plays a major role in these societies,
and it is this that determines their social class ranking. This is especially true of capitalist

Class in Capitalist…

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Emma Rudd BMA

Unequal but Fair?
Saunders (1995, 1996) argues that while Britain is an unequal society it is not necessarily unfair.
He blames leftwing sociologists for spreading the SAD thesis: the argument that class related
Social Advantages and Disadvantages, rather than individual merit, is the main factor behind

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Emma Rudd BMA

Karl Marx (18181883) stressed the fundamental importance of economic processes, since
every social group must firstly satisfy its material needs (e.g. for food, shelter, clothing). Humans
are inevitably involved in economic activities and as they come together to do these economic
tasks they enter into a social…

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Emma Rudd BMA

Economic Determinism ­ Marx attached too much importance to economic factors.
He implies that the dominant ideas of society are little more than ideologies to help to
maintain the economic positions of capitalists. However critics argue that culture is not
just a direct product of economic forces,…

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Emma Rudd BMA

a considerable number of finely graded occupational classes, each based on market position.
The people within each class share broadly similar life chances.

Status refers to the degree of honour or prestige, which is attached to social groups in society.
The members of status a group…

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Emma Rudd BMA

Production of Market?
Marxists define classes in terms of ownership of the means of production (a twoclass
model). Whereas Weberians see classes as positions in the market place (allowing for
a wider range of classes). Marxists say Weberians identify too many trivial
marketbased classes and distracts attention…

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Emma Rudd BMA

Davis and Moore regard power as a social resources which is distributed throughout
society in such a way that it works for the common good. They overlook the way power
is used as a weapon by some groups to further their own material interests.
Some of the…

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Emma Rudd BMA

programmes on class, maintaining that this type of research explains a good deal of what
happens in society, but admit it must remain selfcritical. It cannot simply assert that
class is an important factor in social life ­ it must demonstrate it.

Class in Postmodern Society

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Emma Rudd BMA

working class people have been moving away from the old collective forms towards
the more individualised forms typical of the middle class.

For Savage Britain is not an especially class conscious society: people do not usually have well
developed views about the class system, and they have…




This is a dense but comprehensive summary of the explanations for social inequalities which is great. This can easily be transferred into flashcard into more concise material. Great job.

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