The structure of structural-functionalism presents patterns of social stratification. This particularly refers to income disparity patterns, occupation, wealth, power, and emergence of distinct social classes. The framework provides that some form of social stratification is present in major societies. Further, hierarchical sequences of social stratification are both inevitable and desirable. Occupational differences in income are explicable with respect to differences in the functional worth of various occupational groups (Margaret, 2006). The framework provides that social inequality is resulted by individual capability and effort. However, most of the inequality in the society is connected to societal structures (Margaret, 2006). Social stratification thus refers to a system whereby people in the society are ranked with respect to hierarchy. There are four principles that govern social stratification (Margaret, 2006). The first principle provides that social stratification reflect societal values as opposed to individual values. Secondly, it is universal with substantial degrees of variation; thirdly, it endures over generation, and lastly, it is supported by patterns of belief.
Marxist analysis of class struggles revolve around capitalism and the industrial society. The framework offers a different approach to describing, explaining, and predicting future contemporary problems, as well as a remedy (Margaret, 2006). Marx perceived that structure of society with respect to its social classes, and the related struggle as the mechanism of change in this structure. Dispute was not deviational within the society’s structure, neither were classes functional tenets sustaining the system. Marx’s views the societal structure as a derivative of (and ingredient) the struggle of the classes (Tonnies, 2008).
Marx’s argument is a form of critique to David and Moore’s structural-functionalist argument that maintains that social classes are a result of variations in people’s abilities and efforts. Structural functionalism ignores various variables in reaching to its conclusion (Susan & Barrow, 2011). For instance, it fails to address the issue of individuals who have not been able to maximize their abilities because of impoverished circumstances. Factors like inadequate funding, lack of job opportunities, racial discrimination, and sundry do not feature in structural functionalism framework. Marx defines class with respect to level of property possessed by an individual, as opposed to the theory of class and stratification that determines class with respect to status or income (Margaret, 2006).
Max Weber and Erik Olin Wright adapted other dimensions of conflict through their acknowledgement of moral commitment to a essential egalitarian vision of the good and just society. This dimension is different in that it offers indispensable theoretical techniques for comprehending the conditions for the advance of radical egalitarianism (Margaret, 2006). Their additional views are more designed to initiate change in the world rather than just offering a perspective for understanding it (Tonnies, 2008). Their state of art is characterized by a strong tone of optimism because of the rediscovery of critical conceptual tools for dealing with the problem of inequality in social classes. Both philosophers propose that the fundamental aim of social class disparity should be to unravel the parameters of social inequalities. This should be followed by a demystification of ideological legitimizations of the societal inequalities.
The theories are still applicable because culture and societal values are passed from one generation to another through association (Margaret, 2006). In most cases, the frameworks offer guidelines in various fields, for instance judicial and other processes. Other societies have unconsciously adopted customized provisions of the power theories. In other modern societies, the power theories do not form the main reference sources, but are used as additional reference sources for crucial processes like constitution making processes (Susan & Barrow, 2011).
- Susan, M., H., & Barrow, G.,M. (2011). Aging, Individual, and Society. Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
- Margaret, A. (2006). Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society. Belmont: Thomson/ Wadsworth.
- Tonnies, F. (2008). Community and Society (Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft). New Brunswick: Transaction.