Theories of INEQUALITY: WEBERIANISM

Max Weber was a social action theorist that has been described as the 'ghost of Marx'. He wanted to understand the meanings behind people's actions and gain verstehen. He agreed with Marx that the ownership of property and capital were important dimensions of privilege within society, however, not the only dimensions. He argued that social inequality was largely a product of three dimensions. 

The first being class (economic conditions such as a person's income, wealth and occupation). This is similar to Marx's idea of capital. It involves the unequal access of any person or group of people to possessions. For example, the owner of the business can control the employees. The second dimension is status (a person's social standing within society) that highly involves respect. We may pay respect to an individual because we view them as socilly superior to us. For example, a religious leader will not be the wealthiest person in any worship group, but has status from the position of being a leader of belief. The last dimension is power (policital power and ability to influence decision making), not just being part of government, but being able to influence others in terms of rule and law creation. For example, leading members of certain groups such as Greenpeace may influence government policy because they represent large numbers of people. 

Weber was concerned with many of the same issues as Marx, but came to different conclusions as to the causes of inequality in society…

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