Social Inequality Analysis

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Present at least two different sociological approaches to social inequality and discuss these approaches with reference to a concrete problem area of contemporary relevance. Social inequality can be found in various aspects of society, the question is if inequality is only caused by the lack of economical estate or if other reasons are underlining it. This essay argues how Max Weber distinguishes between social class and strata and how one often leads to the other. Furthermore, it presents Pierre Bourdieu’s notions of habitus, capital and fields as an explanation of how people can achieve different social statuses within different fields because of their capitals. At last, the two different sociological approaches to social inequality is…show more content…
Social class is in his definition mainly based on economical assets, where strata goes beyond economic wealth: it can be possession the religious insight, intellectuality or political engagement (Weber 1958). Political dedication is one of his main themes; Weber distinguishes between people living for politics or off politics. A person who is passionate about politics, lives for politics as a vocation, in Weber’s (1958, 5) terms: ‘Either he enjoys the naked possession of the power he exerts, or he nourishes his inner balance and self-feeling by the consciousness that his life has meaning in the service of a 'cause '’. The opposite of living for politics is living off politics. By this, Weber means a person, a person who seeks economical wealth of political engagement. This person’s political decisions will necessarily be influenced of his pursuit of…show more content…
Framing social inequality, he ‘elaborates a theory of class that fuses the Marxian insistence of economic determination with the Weberian recognition of the distinctiveness of the cultural order and the Durkheimian concern for classification’ (Wacquant 2007, 270). By combining different theories, Bourdieu distances himself from the unilateral Marxist theory of classes. Instead of focusing on social inequality and a class based system simply on behalf of economic estate, he ‘argues that classes arise in the conjunction of shared position in social space and shared dispositions actualized in the sphere of consumption’ (ibid, 272). Thus, he draws upon the concepts of habitus, capital and fields when capturing and explaining social

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