Max Weber's Theory Of Ethnic Relations In Contemporary Society

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Max Weber’s concept of “monopolistic closure” has been extremely influential in the analysis of ethnic relations in contemporary societies. Malesevic (2004) best describes Weber’s theory of monopolistic closure as a way of distinguishing between the open and closed relationships within society. Weber believed that ethnicity played a vital role in the identification of individuals as it was used as a device to distinguish between groups in modern society. However, through the works of Durkheim and Marx, it can be suggested that the concept of monopolistic closure holds limited analysis when understanding ethnic relations in contemporary society. The constant evolution of society now means ethnicity no longer plays such a vital role in the identification…show more content…
Caliendo and Mcllwain (2011) have suggested that the historical claims of white supremacy within nations such as the UK and South Africa have created racial conflicts and segregation between ethnic communities. Relating back to Weber’s theory of the caste system, the “authentically white” (Caliendo and Mcllwain, 2011:22) communities are dominant and control the minority communities. Caliendo and Mcllwain argue that the “authentically white” have increased wealth and status which they use to create boundaries and exclude the ethnic groups within the community. An example of this would be the issue of Apartheid in South Africa throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth century. Apartheid can be defined by the New Oxford English Dictionary (1998) as “a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on the grounds of race” (Guelke, 2005:61). Throughout the period Guelke (2005) discussed the fact that the minority white communities within South Africa ruled over the black majority and lived “a lifestyle with a standard of living matching the very richest countries in the world” (Guelke, 2001:1-2), whilst the black communities lived in extreme poverty. Here we can link back to the system of monopolistic social closure. The white population viewed themselves as the elite members of society, and via…show more content…
Assimilation can be defined as the “the process by which the outsider, immigrant or subordinate groups becomes indistinguishably integrated into the dominant host society” (Scott, 2014:28). Through the investigations into the Chicago schools Park and Burges (1921) identified the process of assimilation which they called ‘the melting pot’ through which all customs and cultures are brought together and are shared to create a bigger and more central group where the new cohesion is more superior than the latter. Throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth century America, particularly Chicago saw a mass wave of immigration from Western Europe from countries such as Ireland Italy and Poland. Parks and Burges (1921) found that through the increasing migration of Europeans to America developed and changed the dynamics of society within Chicago which incorporated not only American traditions, but also the traditions of the migrants, for example the introduction of Italian foods such as pizza and spaghetti to American society. Like Durkheim’s theory, Park and Burges (1921), found that through the evolution of society, and the welcoming of cultures and traditions, a new, more cultured community is formed which is more superior than it

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