Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society
Soziale Klassen und Klassenkon fltkt in der industriellen Gesellschaft
Автор(и) : Ralf Dahrendorf
Издател : Stanford University Press
Място на издаване : Stanford, California, USA
Година на издаване : 1959
Брой страници : 336
Език : английски
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In 1959, Dahrendorf published in his most influential work on social inequality, titled Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society. Despite later revisions and affirmations of his work, today this book still remains as his first detailed and most influential account of the problem of social inequality in modern, or postcapitalist, societies.
In analyzing and evaluating the arguments of structural functionalism and Marxism, Dahrendorf believed that neither theory alone could account for all of society. Marxism did not account for evidence of obvious societal integration and cohesion. Structural functionalist, on the other hand, did not focus enough on social conflict. He also asserted that Marx defined class in a too narrow, historically-specific context. During Marx’s time, wealth was the determining factor in attaining power. The wealthy –– and therefore the powerful –– ruled, leaving no way for the poor to gain any power or increase their position in society.
Drawing on aspects of both Marxism and structural functionalists to form his own beliefs, Dahrendorf highlighted the changes that have occurred in modern society. Specifically, with democracy came voting for political parties, and increased social mobility. He believes that the struggle for authority creates conflict. Furthermore, he believes that traditional Marxism ignores consensus and integration in modern social structures. Dahrendorf’s theory defined class not in terms of wealth like Marx, but by levels of authority. Dahrendorf combines elements from both of these perspectives to develop his own theory about class conflict in postcapitalist society.
Karl Marx’s Model of the Class Society
THE SOCIAL ETYMOLOGY OF THE CONCEPT OF CLASS
The concept of class has never remained a harmless concept for very long. Particularly when applied to human beings and their social conditions it has invariably displayed a peculiar explosiveness. The logician runs no risk in distinguishing "classes" of judgments or categories the biologist need not worry about "classifying" the organisms with which he is concerned — but if the sociologist uses the concept of
class he not only must carefully explain in which of its many meanings he wants it to be understood, but also must expect objections that are dictated less by scientific insight than by political prejudice. As Lipset and Bendix have stated: "Discussions of different theories of class are often academic substitutes for a real conflict over political orientations"
We shall have to show where this impermissible and unfortunate confusion of judgments of fact and value originates in this case, and we shall have to find ways and means to weld the concept and theory of class into useful tools of sociological analysis without evaluative overtones. However, for the time being we have to resign ourselves to the fact that using the concept of class may cause misunderstandings of many kinds.
Ralph Gustav Dahrendorf, Baron Dahrendorf, KBE, FBA (1 May 1929 – 17 June 2009) was a German-British sociologist, philosopher, political scientist and liberal politician. A class conflict theorist, Dahrendorf was a leading expert on explaining and analyzing class divisions in modern society, and is regarded as "one of the most influential thinkers of his generation." In his lifetime, Dahrendorf published multiple articles and books. His most notable works include Class Conflict in Industrial Society (1959) and Essays in the Theory of Society (1968).
During his political career, he was a Member of the German Parliament, Parliamentary Secretary of State at the Foreign Office of Germany, European Commissioner for External Relations and Trade, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Education and Member of the British House of Lords, after he was created a life peer in 1993. He was subsequently known in the United Kingdom as Lord Dahrendorf.
He served as director of the London School of Economics and Warden of St Antony's College at the University of Oxford. He also served as a Professor of Sociology at a number of universities in Germany and the United Kingdom, and was most recently a Research Professor at the Berlin Social Science Research Center.