Outline and explain 2 criticisms of Marxist views of society

Criticisms of the Marxist view of class: Part one

-Marx has a simplistic view of inequality; he sees class as the only important division. Weber argues that status and power differences can also be important sources of inequality, independently of class. For example, a power elite can rule without owning the means of production, as it did the former Soviet Union. Similarly, feminists argue that gender is a more fundamental source of inequality than class.

-Marx's two class model is also simplistic. For example, Weber sub-divides the proletariat into skilled and unskilled classes and includes a white collar middle class of office workers and a petty bourgoise. 

-Class polarisation hasn't occured. Instead of the middle class being swallowed up by an expanding prolerariat, it has grown, while the industrial working class has shrunk. However, the proletariat in countries such as China and India is growing as a result of globalisation. 

-However, Marxist views of class can be defended because they answer why and how concentration of ownership and the deskilling of the proletariat divides society into a minority capitalist class and a majority working class that 'face each other as two warring camps' 

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Criticisms of the Marxist view of class: Part two

-Since the death of Marx, the absence of revolutions in the West has led Marxists to reject the economic determinism of the base superstructure model. Instead, they have tried to explain why capitalism has persisted and how it might be overthrown . We can identify two broad approaches to these questions, which Gouldnere describes as: humanistic or critical Marxism (has similarities with action theories and interpretive society) and scientific marxism (a structural approach has similarities with positivist sociology)

-However, Marxism can be defended because the economic determinism of the base superstructure model helps explain how the forces and relations of production work together as the mode of production. For example, we live in a society with a capitalist mode of production, which forms the economic base of society, which then determines all other features of society; the superstructure of institutions, ideas, beliefs, etc, that arise consequently. 

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