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Principles of Stratification in Max Weber: An Interpretation and Critique

Author(s): Jack M. Barbalet


Source: The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 31, No. 3, Special Issue. Aspects of Weberian
Scholarship (Sep., 1980), pp. 401-418
Published by: Wiley on behalf of The London School of Economics and Political Science
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JackM.Barbalet

Principles of stratification in Max Weber:


*
*
*@
an lnterpretatlon anc crltlque
ABSTRACT

It hasbeenarguedbyGerthandMills,Coser,andothers,thatWeber
departsfromverstehensociologyin his analysisof classby applyinga
social-structural
account of stratification.The argumentbelow
demonstrates
that Weber'streatmentof classand statusconforms
entirelyto hismethodological
principles
of socialactionandideal-type
analysis.It is also shownthat a social-structural
interpretation
of
Weber'stheolyof stratification
is incoherent.Onlyas an accountof
culturalstructure,
of thewayinwhichsocialdifferentiation
isperceived
in thesocialconsciousness,
is Weber'stheoryof stratification
formally
coherent.
Theelementsof MaxWeber's
generalsociology,includingthetheoryof
stratification,
are designedto amplifyand confirmthe methodology
elaboratedin thefirstpartof hismajoropus. Yeta numberof writers
havereportedthatWeber'smethodandhis treatment
of stratification
diverge.It shallbe shownbelowthatthe analysisof stratification
in
Weberdoesin factfollowfromhissociological
methodology.
Weber's
principles
of stratification
occupya meretwentyoddpagesof
hismammothWirtschaftund Gesellschaft.
1In spiteof itsbrevity,Weber's
discussionhasdominatedthedevelopment
of stratification
theory.It is
widelyheld that Weberprovidedan importantanalysisof social
differentiation
which, in its complexityand multi-dimensionality,
containsa critiqueof cruder,one-dimensional
models,withwhichit
nevertheless
sharesa conceptionof economicallydeterminedclass.
(Thereis somedissentagainstthisgenerally
accepted
assessment.)
Butit
isnotthefragmentaly
natureofWeber's
treatment
of stratification,2
nor
itsremaining
unfinished
atthetimeof hisdeathwhichisresponsible
for
itsconfusingandcontradictoly
formulation.3
Rather,social-structural
interpretations
ofWeberhavetheseconsequences.
Theinterpretation
of
Weberwhichfollowsdemonstrates
thathis theoryof stratification
is
limited to an explicationof social differentiationin the social
consciousness,
to theculturalstructure
of stratification.
BritishJournalofSociologyVolume3s Number3 SeptemberIg80
) R.K.P.

1980 ooo7 1315/80/3103401

51.50/
401

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402

JackM. Barbalet

SOCIAL ACTION AND SOCIAL STRUCTURE

Withoutprejudicing
a consideration
of therelationship
betweensocial
actionandsocialstructure,
Weber's
positionisexplicit.'Sociology',
says
Weber,'is a sciencewhichattemptsthe interpretive
understanding
of
socialactionin ordertherebyto arriveat a causalexplanationof its
courseand effects.'4Thus he emphasizesthe scientificor objective
natureof sociological
discourse.
Butthematerial
dealtwithbysociology
as he understands
it, andtherefore
Weber's
conception
of societyitself,
is,ina sense,'subjective'.
By'action'ismeant,Webergoeson to say,'all
humanbehaviour
whenandin so farastheactingindividual
attachesa
subjective
meaningto it', and actionis socialwhen'byvirtueof the
subjectivemeaningattachedto it by the acting individual(or
individuals),
it takesaccountof thebehaviour
of othersandis thereby
orientedin its course'.On thisaccountthebasicunitof sociological
analysisis theorientationof the individualactor- eithersinglyor in
aggregate- which,in providinga meaningof anticipated
reciprocal
significance
of action,bestowsuponit a socialquality.
Becausethe socialqualityof thingsis regardedas residingin the
meaningwhich their interactionhas for the actors themselves,
sociologicalentitiescan neverbe supra-individual
collectivities
for
Weber.5Methodological
individualism
is thereforecorrelativewith
Weber'sactionfocus,for socialentitiesare understoodthroughan
interpretation
of meanings,motivesandintentions,6
which,in thefirst
instance,derivefrom individualactors.The individualist
mode of
explanation
inWeber's
sociologyanditsrelationtotheanalysis
of social
structurehave been variouslytreated. One approachregards
explanations
throughsocialactionon theone hand,andstructure
on
theother,to be notopposites,buttwolevelsof a singlemodel.Talcott
Parsons,forinstance,arguesthatthesubjective
meanings,
expectations
andmotivesof individuals,
throughwhichsocialactionoccurs,inbeing
theorientations
of relatingindividuals,
constitutes
thestructure
within
whichsocialactionis located.7
PercyCohenhassimilarly
proposedthat
if the conditions'of lateral and temporalstandardization
and
recurrence'
of actionobtain,it can then be said thatthereexistsa
structure.
For,if different
actorsina commonsituationtendto thesame
or similaractions,and if at differenttimesthesameactorsin similar
situationstendto thesameor similaractions,thenthereareenduring
constraints
on action,andthisis whatis meantbystructured
action.8
If constraintis the essentialcharacteristic
of structure
thenwhatis
regardedas the structural,
or constraining,
factorwill determinethe
qualityof theconceptualization
of structure
inthatparticular
instance.9
Themultiplicity
of typesof constraint
andtheproclivity
of theoriststo
selectonly particularones for explanation,makes'structure'an
'essentiallycontestedconcept'
.' The questionhere then becomes
whether
thestructure
impliedbysocialactionin theWeberian
senseisa

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Principlesof stratificationin Max Weber

4o3

itself,theconcept
or someotherkind.Like'structure'
socialstructure,
is essentially
contested.
'socialstructure'
thatthereare manydefinitionsof socialstructure,
Acknowledging
a typologyof it whichis bothsimpleand
ErikAllardthasconstructed
He beginswith the premisethatit is the presenceof
non-arbitrary.
considered
whichis generally
observable
stablepatternsof interaction
any
Allardtproceedsby disqualifying
socialstructure.
to demonstrate
explanationof social structurewhichemploysthe notionsof the
For
in it mayhaveof thestructure.
interaction
thatthoseparticipating
through
termsareestablished
that'somestructural
whilehe recognizes
Allardtinsists
a scrutinyof theconceptionsof theactingindividuals',
individuals
. . . maynotenterinto
that'thenotionsof theparticipating
the explanationitself' of social structure."Social structuremust
thereforebe explainedwithoutrecourseto subjectiveorientations,
motlvesor lntentlons.
orientationof socialactioncanneverbe a qualityof
Thesubjective
socialstructure,but is ratherthe elementwhich,in beingsubjectto
at
merelyindicatesthepresenceof socialstructure
systemicconstraint,
of ParsonsandCohenstatedabove
level.Thearguments
theindividual
of social
only to the descriptionor identification
addressthemselves
isalien
Notthattheconceptof'structure'
structure,
notitsexplanation.
to Weber'smethodology.Indeed,Weberdevelopsa modelof typical
of legitimacy,
structures
structures
of action,fromwhichareelaborated
Theseareall explainedin termsof
andauthority.
socialrelationships
Moregenerally,
Weber
orientations.
actors'subjective
theparticipating
reasonsthata scientific'law'of sociologyrequiresthat'typicalmotives
and typicalsubjectiveintentionsof the actors'must featurein the
or explanationof 'givenconditions[in which]an
understanding
expectedcourseof socialactionwill occur'.'2Thatthisexhauststhe
methodology
suggeststhatWeber's
generalization
scopeof sociological
Thevalidityof thisconclusion
to explainsocialstructure.
is ill-equipped
or
belowwhenitisshownthatthereisnoadequate
willbedemonstrated
whichcan be
theoryof socialstratification
coherentsocial-structural
of stratification
The 'structure'
derivedfromWeberianassumptions.
whichWeber'stheoryexplainsis of a differentorder.
A secondtreatmentof the relationbetweenWeber'smethodology
is
individualism
analysisclaimsthatmethodological
andhissubstantive
whichpermitsan adequate
absentfrom his theoryof stratification,
terms.The classicalstatementof this
explanationin social-structural
positionis thatof HansGerthand C. WrightMills.'3Theywritethat
reflectionscould not justifyhis analysisof
Weber'smerhodological
operatesinstead
andthathistheolyof stratification
socialstratification,
LewisCoser'4
asopposedtoanactionexplanation.
througha structural
similarlyopposesWeber'smethodologyto one whichemployssocialstructural
terms,and goes on to proposethatWeber'didnot always
guidelines.Contralyto hisnominalistic
followhisownmethodological
.

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JackM. Barbalet

4o4

stresson theactingpersonas theunitof analysis,headvanced


a theory
of stratification
basedlargelyon structural
explanations."5
Thesame
pointhasbeenmadebya numberof otherwriters.
16 Thusthere
appears
in someof the secondaryliterature
a consensus communis thatWeber's
accountof stratification
divergesfromhis explicitlystatedmethodologicalprinciples.
The burdenof the argumentwhichfollowsis to demonstrate
that
Weber'stheory of stratificationis, in fact, founded upon the
methodological
principleshe explicitlyformulated
andthatthisis the
sourceof thedifficulties
facedbysocial-structural
interpretations
of it.
TH E CLASS CO N CEPT I N WEBER

The primaryfoundationsof stratification


for Weberare 'class'and
'status',theprincipal'phenomena
of thedistribution
of powerwithina
community'.
17 Thesearesimply
differentiated:
'classes'arestratified
accordingto theirrelationsto theproduction
and acquisitionof goods; whereas'statusgroups'are stratified
accordingto the principlesof their consumption of goods as
represented
byspecial'stylesof life'.'8
Statusgroupsaredefinedin termsof culturalattributes,
andtherefore
representno immediateproblem of compatibilitywith Weber's
methodology.
Classes,though,appeartobeentitiesstructurally
defined
in termsof materialrelationsandthusdo seemto be outof phasewith
Weber'smethodology.It will be arguedhere,however,thattheclass
conceptinWeberiswhollya dimension
orelaboration
ofhisconception
of socialaction.
Weber'sindividualist
perspective
is clearin hisdefinitionof classas
'anygroupof personsoccupyingthe sameclasssituation'.i9
But in
movingto a definitionof class'situation'thereis no immediately
obviousrecourseto meanings,motivesor intentions,forWebersays
that
Wemayspeakof 'class'when(1) a numberof peoplehaveincommon
a specificcausalcomponentof theirlifechances,in so faras (2) this
componentis represented
exclusively
by economicinterestsin the
possessionof goods and opportunitiesfor income,and (3) is
representedunder the conditionsof the commodityor labour
markets.20

On a superficial
reading,theconceptof classin termsof 'lifechances'
seems to imply that it functionsindependently
of the subjective
orientations
whichindividuals
mayhavetowardsobjectivestructural
conditions.It hasbeenheldto be quiteunliketheconceptof statusin
thisregard.2lIt willbecomeclear,however,thatthequalifications
to
'lifechances'of 'economicinterest'and 'marketconditions'directly-

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in Max Weber
Principlesof stratification

4o5

and probablyintentionally- introducesubjectivistelementsinto


Weber'sconceptionof class.
assume
of Weber'sdiscussionof stratification
Mostinterpretations
andthat
toclasssituation,
thattheconcept'lifechance'refersexclusively
the distinctbut correlativeconceptionof 'life style',carryingequal
weight,refersto statussituation.Sucha view,however,
descriptive
ignoresthe fact that status,too, is definedin termsof a particular
'componentof life fate', that which is the 'social estimationof
class,as we have
whichdetermine
whereasthecomponents
honour',22
undertheconditionsof
seen,are'economicinterests. . . represented
thegenericnatureof
Nevertheless,
thecommodityor labourmarkets'.
is
tobothclassandstatussituations,
theconcept'lifechance',applicable
conditionedlife
of theeconomically
madeclearin Weber'streatment
andlabour
chancesof slaves,thatis,thosewhodonotentertheproperty
of others.Slaves,Webersays,
assellers,butonlyastheproperty
markets
bythechanceof usinggoodsorservices
whosefateis notdetermined
on themarket. . . arenot, however,a 'class'in the
for themselves
technicalsenseof theterm.Theyare,rather,a 'statusgroup'.23
'statusgroup'in termsof theabsenceof market
AsWebercharacterizes
Weber's
forces,this accountof slavesis not in itselfproblematic.24
objective
the
not
it
is
that
point
the
observation,though,reinforces
class,butonlythose
of lifechancesas suchwhichdetermines
structure
interests.
determined
market
by
represented
lifechances
of classis
of the marketto Weber'sunderstanding
Theimportance
unambiguously
is
"class"
unavoidable:'the factor that creates
economicinterest,and indeed,only thoseinterestsinvolvedin the
o.25 In TheSocialPsychologyof WorldReligionsthis
of the"market"
existence
thatthe'specific
qualification
butwiththesignificant
pointisreiterated,
determinedby
ones
are
today
and typicalcases of class situation
'such is not
that
add
on
to
Weberimmediatelygoes
markets'.26
peasantmay
small
and
of
landlord
situations
thecase:class
necessarily
it is not
Thus
way'.
negligible
in
a
only
relations
dependuponmarket
for
class
determines
which
as
such
market
anyintrinsicpropertyof the
formation
the
upon
impose
conditions
market
what
Weber,butrather
andnatureof economicinterests.
Weber's conception of market does not function through
terms.'Bythe"marketsituation"for
social-structural
predominantly
anyobjectof exchangeis meant',saysWeber,
it formoneywhichareknownby
of exchanging
all theopportunities
in themarketsituationto be availableto themand
theparticipants
relevantin orientingtheirattitudesto pricesandcompetition.27
To the extentthat the marketis a componentof classsituation,it
concomitant
predicates
intotheconceptof classsubjectivist
introduces
to the orientationsof action.WhenWebersaysthatit is economic

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JackM. Barbalet

406

interestthat createsclass,and largelythose interestsfound in the


market,he is implicitlybut nevertheless
essentiallyinsistingupon a
definitionof classwhichoperatesthroughanunderstanding
of motives
and intentions,for in the marketsituationinterestsare orientedby
cognitionsandattitudes.
Sothatwhilethemarketmaynotbecrucialfor
theformationof class,aswithlandlordandpeasant,it mayguarantee
theexistenceof classbyespecially
orientinginterests.
Yet,bydefiningtheclasssituationin termsof lifechancerepresented
by economicinterest,Webermay at firstseem to departfrom an
individualistmethodologyand embarkinsteadupon a structural
conceptionof class.Theclasssituation,saysWeber,is one 'inwhicha
givenindividual
andmanyothersfindtheirinterestsdefined'.28
It is a
typicallyMarxiandefinitionof classwhichproposesthatpersonshave
theirinterests
assignedto thembytheirclassposition.Classinterest,to
Marx,'doesnot existmerelyin theimagination
. . . butfirstof all in
reality,as themutualinterdependence
of theindividuals
amongwhom
thelabouris divided'.29
Thisis thestructural
definition
par excellence of
classinterest,for it holdsthatclassinterestis not merelytherandom
personalinterestsof individuals
or groupsof individuals,
buta really
socialattributeobjectively
derivedfromsocialrelationsof production.
Butanyinterpretation
of Weberis erroneouswhichsuggeststhathis
conceptionof economicinterestis in anywayanalogousto Marx'sin
particular,
or in generalis similarto a social-structural
conceptionof
interest.

The class positionof individuals,accordingto social-structural


accounts,determinestheireconomicinterests.Weber,on the other
hand,reversesthispathof causation
whenhe saysthatclassinterestis a
purelyempirical
conceptwhichrefersonlyto theinterests
of individuals
andwhichtakesan 'average'
formforthosepersonssharinga common
classsituation.30
It is preciselythe individualnatureof interestwhich
renderstheconceptof 'classinterest'inherently
ambiguous
forWeber.
Thedirectioninwhichbearersof the'average'
classinterest
pursuetheir
interests
variesbetweenindividuals
andWeberregardsthesevariations
in thepursuitof interestsas itselftheconsequence
of theirindividual
character.
Thus,for Weber,classinterestis not qualitatively
different
fromindividual
interest,andtheparticular
manifestation
of a person's
interestsis regarded
byhimasa consequence
of individual
orientation,
andultimately
therefore
of subjective
motives.
Thereis no classinterestas suchforWeber,onlytheaverageinterest
of discreteindividualssharinga commoneconomicposition.That
interestsessentialto classsituationareeconomicdoesnot imply,for
Weber,thatclassis the creationof structural
factors.Thisis because,
firstly,he doesnot holdthateconomicconditionsas suchcreateclass,
onlyeconomicinterest:' "Classes"
aregroupsof peoplewho,fromthe
standpoint
of specificinterests,
havethesameeconomicposition.'31 And
whilehe insiststhat the 'basiccategoriesof all classsituations'are

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in MaxWeber
ofstratification
Principles

407

or
it is not thepossessionof property
and'lackof property',
'property'
of
individuals,
situation
class
the
determines
Weber
whichfor
otherwise
but 'the "meaning"whichtheycan and do giveto the utilizationof
Secondly,a socialrelationshipbetweenthosesharinga
property'.32
1S a particular
interest,that1S, a classrelationship,
economic
common
oneinwhich
socialrelationship,
caseofwhatWebercallsan'associative'
motivated
a
rationally
on
it
rests
within
action
of
social
orientation
'the
The
agreement.'33
motivated
similarly
a
or
of
interests
adjustment
a
structural
is
not
therefore,
terms,
explanationof classin economic
areexplainedthroughthe
for Weber.Classrelationships
explanation
the
imperativeof objective
through
not
and
orientation
actor's
of whetherpersonsare
independently
function
which
forces
economic
awareof them. Indeed,the socialdimensionof economicactivity,
of the
its appreciation
Webersays,is preciselyits intersubjectivity,
interested
Classaction,theactionof theeconomically
'others'action.34
individual,is clearlyan instanceof whatWeberdescribesas rationalaction,35 actionwhichresultsfroma modeof orientation
instrumental
based upon particularexpectationsand individuallychosen and
givenends.
culturally
noton
Itwillbe clearthattheconceptof classinWeSeris elaborated
of
butthroughanapplication
premisesof explanation,
social-structural
in the conceptof socialactiorl,
presuppositions
his methodological
meaningsandintentions.
whichfocusesuponorientations,
CLASS STRUCTURE AND CLASS RELATIONS

action not only characterizesWeber's


Rational-instrumental
of 'class'to Weber's
conceptionof class,but indicatesthesignificance
generalsociology.Theunifyingthemeof thelatter,as DennisWrong
of lifeasthemain
rationalization
hasputit,isthe'ideaof theprogressive
movement
In thehistorical
trendof Westerncivilization'.36
directional
controlto thosewithlowtraditional
fromcultureswithhightraditional
at the
classmustappearas significant
controlandhighindividualism,
furtherrangeof thespectrum.Indeed,Webercommentsa numberof
ofCt4SS.37 Healsosaysthat
predominance
timesuponthecontemporary
and
whichisan 'important
againsttheclassstructure'
it is the'react[ion]
Thus,
events'.38
of historical
afterall simplefactfor theunderstanding
Weber'ssocialactionexplanationof classboth correspondsto his
of historicalmovementand raisesthe questionof the
understanding
basis
Butit is preciselythemethodological
of classsituations.
structure
of a modelof classfoundedupon socialactionwhichpreventshim
andalso
classstructure
a fullyconstituted
conceptualizing
adequately
thesocialrelationsbetweenclasses.Itwillbe shownin thissectionthat
in thesystemof social
Weberhasno conceptionof theclassstructure
.

stratlhcatlon.

Becauseit is a matterof definitionthat 'classsituation'referstO

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408

JackM. Barbalet

individualorientationsand conditions,the structuration


of class
situationsintowidercategories
corresponding
to socialgroupingsof a
classnaturerequiresspecialconsideration,
forit isa matterof principle
to Weberthat
controloverdifferentcombinations
of consumergoods,meansof
production,investments,capital funds or marketableabilities
constituteclasssituations
whicharedifferent
witheachcombination
andvariation.39
Asthecombinations
of property
andskillareempirically
innumerable,
so the classsituationsempirically
possibleare also innumerable.
In
orderto overcometheabsurdity
of infiniteclasscategories
on thebasis
of infiniteclass situations,Weberdevelopsa structuration
of class
categories
foundedupontwodistinctschemas,onedevolving
uponthe
particular
natureof different
typesof marketsituation;
theother,giving
riseto 'socialclasses',uponthepossibilities
formobilitybetweenclass
.

sltuatlons.

On thedistinctionbetweenthepropertymarketandthemarketfor
services
Weberdifferentiates
between'property
classes'and'acquisition
classes'.40These qualitativelydifferentclass types are further
differentiated
on an axis of 'privilege'.Positively
privilegedproperty
classesaremadeupoftheownersanddirectcontrollers
ofpropertywho
derivetheirincomefrompropertyrentsandsecurities,
thenegatively
privileged
propertyclassesaresimplythosewithoutproperty;
outcasts,
debtorclassesandthepoor,andthosewhoarethemselves
theproperty
of otherssuchas slaves.Positivelyprivilegedacquisitionclassesare
thosewhocontrolthemanagement
of productive
enterprises
andwhose
securityof positionderivesfromtheirabilityto influenceeconomic
policyin theirfavour.Negatively
privileged
acquisition
classes,on the
otherhand,areskilled,semi-skilled
andunskilled
workers.
Between
the
classesof negativeand positiveprivilegeare thosegroupingswhich
occupythecatchbag'middleclasses'.Throughthisterminology
Weber
developsa complextypologyof classifications
whichamountsto a
pluralistic
conceptionof classes,employinga limitednumberof class
categories.4'
Thisfavourable
assessment
willrequirerevision,however,
whentheseriousdifficulties
of Weber'sclasstypesareappreciated.
The point has been madeby OliverCox that the specificsocial
groupings
usedto illustrate
theseclasscategories
are'derived
practically
at convenience'and 'cannotbe applied to any single society'.42
Furthermore,
Weber'sinclusionof entrepreneurs
suchas shipowners,
for example,into thecategories
of bothpositively
privileged
property
and acquisitionclassesindicatesan inadequate
demarcation
between
class typeswhich blurs ratherthan clarifiesthe distinctionsand
boundaries
betweenthem.Onemightaddthat,fromthepointof view
of a sociological
analysisof classstructure,
thereisaprimaJacie
absurdity
in the inclusionwithina singlecategoryof suchdiversegroupsas

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PrinciplesoJstratificationin Max Weber

4o9

entrepreneurs,
liberalprofessionals
andlabouraristocrats,43
forto the
extentthattheymayeachpossesspositiveprivilege,therecan be no
qualitative
uniformity
in theirdoingso,andtheycouldhardlybesaidto
sharea commonor 'average'classinterest.Forthesesortsof reasons
Cox and Giddens,for example,havealso concludedthatWeber's
typologyis inapplicable
forempiricalresearch
andfortheformulation
of theoretical
postulates.44
Thesedifficulties
highlightthe minimalutilityof thisformof class
structuration
for historicaland sociologicalanalysis.Indeed,class
structure
in thissenseis at besta marginalaspectof Weber'stheoryof
stratification
and, as the followingexamplesindicate,frequently
ignoredbyhim.Weberfailsto see,forinstance,
theexpropriation
of the
workerfromthe meansof productionin the movementfromEstate
Society(Feudalism)to ClassSociety(Capitalism)
in class terms.45
Similarly,the processof labourexploitationis to Webera non-class
phenomenon.46
Classstrugglealsoisnotregarded
asa relationbetween
classesbyWeber,butmerelyas'anactionbetweenmembers
of different
classes'.47
Thisis not onlybecausethebasisof all classactionis in the
formationof a 'community'
drawnfrombut not equivalentto class
itself,48but becauseclassstruggleis a typeof'conflict',technically
understoodas a form of social relationshipbetweenparticularly
orientedindividuals.49
Weber'saccountemphasizes
the fact thatthe
actorsin classstrugglecanneverbe equivalentto classesas such.But
thereisno placeinWeberforananalysisof thosehistorical
situations
in
whichclassesarethebasicunitsof conflictin thesensethatthefortunes
andinterestsof oneclasscanberealizedonlyat theexpenseof thoseof
another.It is withinthis latterframework
thatan accountof class
structure
wouldin partexplainstrugglebetweenvariousorganizations
andgroupsof individuals
of a classnature.Classrelationsareinvisible
to Weberwhentheytakea structural
formandareotherwise
explained
not throughsocial-structural
termsbut throughan understanding
of
the actionsof individualsoccupyingdifferentclasssituations.The
conceptualstructuration
of class is largelyoutsidehis explanatory
discourse.
ThatWeberdoesnot conceptualize
classrelationsbetweenthe four
basiccategoriesof positivelyand negativelyprivilegedpropertyand
acquisitionclasses,but only relationsbetweenelementsof them,
suggestsa typologyof fragmenting
structuration,
one whichtendsto
breakdownintonarrower
categories,
andtherefore
providesno clear
structuration
at all. Atbestit offersa descriptive
schemaforgrouping
but not structuring
classsituations.It canbe saidin generalthatthe
typologyfails to identifya structuralpropertywhich in equally
constraining
the groupsto whichthe termapplies,unifiesthemin
relationto eachother.Theconceptof'privilege',forexample,requires
ratherthanindicatesa structural
backboneof classcategories.
Andthe
concepts'property'
and'commerce'
arenotstrictly
speaking
classterms.

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JackM. Barbalet

410

Theyapplyto situationsof possessionand occupationand remain


narrowly
descriptive
labelswhiletheyarewithoutthebenefitof a wider
structural
categorywhichcouldrelateone to theotherandbothto a
socialprocess.It is hisrequirement
of inter-subjectivity
productive
of
classactionin the relationbetweenmembersof differentclasses,as
much as the poor qualityof formulationin this model of class
structuration,
whichinhibitsanythinglike an adequatedepictionof
classstructure.
Thesecondschemaof structuration
of classsituations
inWeberisthat
of socialclass:
the 'socialclass'structureis composedof the pluralityof class
situations
betweenwhichaninterchange
of individuals
ona personal
basisor in thecourseof generations
is readilypossibleandtypically
observable.50

Socialclass,in thissense,is definedwithoutrecourseto thesubjective


orientation
of individuals
andrefersinsteadto a specificcontentof life
chance,namelythe rangeof movementthrougha numberof class
situations
whichindividuals
maypass.Thepossibility
of suchobjective
movement
couldbe conceivedasanaspectof classsituationitself.Asa
conceptionof classbasedon mobilitychancesit is fullystructural,
and,
mostinteresting,
is fullyconsistentwithWeber'sformaldefinitionof
'classsituation'.
Thislastpointsuggeststhatit is erroneousof Giddens,therefore,
to
saythatWeber'sconceptionof 'socialclass'seems
to cut acrossthe initialformulationof 'class'as an aggregateof
commonmarketsituations. . . [and]to someextentabandonsthe
positionthatclassreferssolelyto economicinterests
in themarket,it
tendsto blurthecleardividing-line
whichWeberoriginally
soughtto
establish,betweenclasssituationandthesocialgroupings
andforms
of actionwhichmay developamongthose who sharecommon
positionsin themarket.5l
Firstly,mobilityshouldbe seenas a marketdependentphenomenon,
especially
asWeberdefines'socialclass'asa 'plurality
ofclasssituations'
whichare thernselves
deSnedin marketterms.As classsituationis
determinedby economicinterest,so 'socialclass'mustreferto the
availablerangeof economicinterestswithina structured
parameter.
Secondly,althoughWebersays,as Giddensreports,in the latter's
words,52
that'thenotionof "socialclass"comesmuchcloserto thatof
"statusgroup"thandoestheconceptionof purelyeconomicclass',this
doesnot implythat'socialclass'constitutesa communityin the way
that'classsituation'doesnot.Indeed,commonmobilitychancesalone
couldno morebe a basisof classactionthancouldeconomicclass,for
the formermakesno referenceat all to individualorientations,
meaningsandso on fundamental
to theformationof a community
for

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Principlesolstratication in Max Weber

4 1 1

between'socialclass'and'statusgroup',to
classaction.Thesimilarity
whichWeberrefers,is simplyin thefactthatbothareinitiallyidentified
whichunifythemembersof each,althoughthebasesof
by constraints
in thisregardareclearlyquitedissimilar.
theirstructuration
Thisis not to saythatWeber'sconceptionof socialclassis without
in termsof themobilitychancesof
flaw.A conceptionof classstructure
asGiddensand
ifitlacksa notionof 'closure',
itsmembersisincomplete
of social
Weberleavesoutof hisdiscussion
Parkinhavedemonstrated.53
classthequestionof closure,andwherehedoesemploytheconceptit is
in terms of subjectivelymotivatedorientationswithin 'social
barriersto
ratherthanin termsof objectivestructural
relationships',54
with
problem
second
The
classes.
between
of
individuals
movement
the
between
of
relations
no
explanation
is
that
the concept'socialclass'
classescan follow a definitionof class in mobilityterms.Such a
definitionrefersto individualmovementswithinand not to the
connectionsbetweenclasses.Weber'sdefinitionof social class, if
supplementedwith a notion of closure,could functiononly to
andperhapsindicatethe
classbarriersbetweenindividuals,
demarcate
accountforthe
employedin doingso. It doesnotadequately
strategies
of class
wayin whichclassesrelateto eachother.The structuration
of single
situationsinto 'socialclasses'refersat mostto the structure
in thesystemof stratification.
classes,not to theclassstructure
DIALECTIC OF STATUS AND CLASS

class'and 'socialclass'are
Theconcepts'propertyclass','acquisition
of theidealtype
Thecentrality
of the'idealtype'formulation.
instances
that'onlyin terms
in hisstatement
isindicated
methodology
to Weber's
The
analysispossiblein sociology.55
of suchpuretypes'is theoretical
ideal type is an abstractionof particularpropertiesdrawnfrom a
numberof phenomena,withoutregardto theirhistoricalcontext,
onlyof the
theformalattributes
whichfocusesuponandconceptualizes
by the concept'status'or 'status
It is exemplified
objectof inquiry.56
group'drawnfrom the empiricalexamplesof feudalestate,Hindu
to noneof
groupandso on, butreferring
caste,modernoccupational
withtheapplication
of anddifficulties
Thelimitations
themexclusively.
willbe
tool to Weber'sanalysisof stratification
of thismethodological
indicatedhere.
Theconcept'status',definedbyWeberthroughthesocialestimation
which
of esteem,is conceivedin generalasa dimensionof stratification
distinctand separatefromclass;indeed,in Reinhard
is functionally
Bendix'swords,Weberdefinedclassand statusin 'termsthat are
Whereclassis a functionof marketsituation,
mutuallyexclusive'.57
statusoperatesin the absenceof the market;whereclassis a mere
economic situation, status founds social community;where
class,statusis typifiedby
opportunitiesfor possessioncharacterize

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412

JackM. Barbalet

consumption
patterns,stylesof life andsocialhonour.A principleof
Weber'stheoryof stratification,
therefore,is the sharpdelineation
drawnbetweenclassandstatus,eachregardedas alternative
meansof
socialdifferentiation.
Thisanalyticpostureis impossibleto maintain,
however,in the applicationto social analysisof the ideal
type
conceptionof status.In Weber'stheoretical
accountof stratification
'status'acquiresat leastthreedifferentcontextualmeanings,and
is
ultimately
renderedworthlessto theexplanation
of thesocialstructure
of stratification.
Theconcept'status'doesnotposeanyproblemsforananalysis
ofthe
stratification
structure
whenit is conceived
asa dominantdimensionof
socialdifferentiation
historically
preceding
theadventofmarketorclass
society.ThusWeberrefersto the 'epochof statusgroups'58
when
mentioningHellenicand RomanantiquityandtheMiddleAges,
says that statusgroups 'developand subsistmost readily and
where
economicorganization
is of a monopolistic
andliturgical
character
and
wheretheeconomicneedsof corporategroupsaremeton a feudal
or
patrimonial
basis'.59
Thediscussion
in TheProtestantSectsandtheSpirito
Capitalism60
of thelimitsoncompetition
inthemedieval
guildincontrast
tothecapitalistic
ethosof Christian
sectsdemonstrates
theutilityof the
concept'statusgroup'to Weber'shistoricalsociology.Indeed,
sensetheconceptsof statusandclass,asmutuallyexclusive in this
categories,
provides
a clearindicationof thedifference
between
historical
societies
inwhichthe householdand workgroupare
undifferentiated
and
societies
in whichtheyarenot.6'
Weberthoughdoesnotconfinetheapplication
of statustoananalysis
ofnon-market
societies,butnotesthatthesocialestimation
of honour,
indicative
of status,'maybe connectedwithanyqualityshared
by a
plurality,
and, of course,it can be knit to a classsituation:class
distinctions
arelinkedin themostvariedwayswithstatusdistinctions'.62
Itis withoutquestionthat 'class'and 'status'are
formallydistinct
concepts
whichostensibly
referto different
dimensions
of stratification
based
on differentprinciples.
Buttheirapplication
to theanalysisof a
single
societyraiseswhatT. H. Marshall
hascalled'thereallyimportant
question',
namely,'to whatextent[do] theirproductsconverge'.63
Weber
suggestsa relativedependence
of statusonclasswhenhesaysthat
'today
theclasssituationis byfarthepredominant
factor,forof course
the
possibility
of a styleof lifeexpectedformembers
of a statusgroupis
usually
conditionedeconomically'.64
Is it to be assumed,then,that
status
merelyrepresentssymbolicallythe class structure
? Modern
defenders
of Weber'stheoryof stratification
generallydenythis,65
and
Weber
canbe similarly
interpreted
whenhesays,forinstance,
that
status
'is
not . . . determined
by[classsituationl
alone',eventhoughit 'maybe
based
on classsituationdirectlyor relatedto it in complexways'.66
For
while
'present-day
societyis predominantly
stratified
in
classes
.
.
.
[it]
contains
a vetytangibleelementof stratification
bystatus'.67
Thuswhile

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in Max Weber
Principlesogstratification

413

status,in this secondsense, may be sociallyrelatedto and even


co-existas dissimilarand
conditionedby class,the two nevertheless
of stratification.
distinctaspectsor dimensions
A muchstrongerconnectionbetweenclassand statusis drawnby
Weberwhen he says that 'socialstatusmay partlyor even wholly
determineclasssituation,without,however,beingidenticalwithit'.68
Thecontextof thisassertionis a ratherslap-dashdefinitionof classin
of Weber.Thesamepointis made
incometerms,quiteuncharacteristic
fromthislimitedandatypical
deriving
without
however,
elsewhere,69
retainsitsownidentityasa
sense
third
this
in
Status
class.
definitionof
functionas a distinct
cannot
such
as
but
class,
of
precondition
in classformationand
is
instrumental
it
stratification;
of
dimension
by status.
a
stratification
than
rather
thuspromotesclassstratification
as status
instance,
for
Weber'sdesignationof occupationalgroups,
regarded
is
differentiation
occupational
that
fact
of
the
groups,70 inspite
theroleof statusinclass
71 signifies
byhimasa partof theclassstructure,
theconcepts'class'and
between
distinction
the
sharp
While
formation.
of statusto class
notion
of
the
application
this
in
maintained
is
'status'
dimensionsof
separate
to
refer
to
cease
terms
two
the
formation,
.

,%

stratlhcatlon.

of Weber's
Thisthirdusageof 'status'mustleadto a re-evaluation
of social
dimensions
as
distinct
co-exist,
may
status
and
class
claimthat
Thislatterpropositionthatclassandstatusareparallel
stratification.
is, in effect,arguedon the
formswithina singlesystemof stratification
in
groundsthatwhileclassmaybea conditionof statusgroupformation
be so. The otherargument,
capitalistsociety,it neednot necessarily
though,is thatstatusmaybe a conditionof classformation.These
question',for
'reallyimportant
togetheranswerMarshall's
propositions
theylead to the conclusionthatthe productsof classand statusdo
indeedconverge,and- it willbe shown- theyconvergein a manner
whichdepreciatesthe valueof 'status'in explanationof the social
of stratification.
structure
in
dimensionof stratification
Weberarguesthat,as an alternative
marketsociety,statusis representedby the economicmonopoly
That
of certainsocialgroups.72
qualifications
positionsandparticular
status groups form through the ability of large corporations,
professionalassociationsand labour unions to relativelyinsulate
fromthefreeplayof marketforcesandacquiresomepower
themselves
must
overtheirownincomes,neednotbedisputed.Buttheseprocesses
andrelationsatparticular
alsobe seenasa keyaspectof classformation
historicaltimes.It is preciselyin thepursuitof economicclassinterest,
conceptionof classsituation,thatsuchpower
centralto theWeberian
occur.Thisis notto saythattheseandsimilarprocesses
configurations
prestigeof a statusnature.
to somegroupsacquiring
willnotcontribute
Rather,the point is that in his discussionof statusin classsociety
of the
Weber'sanalysismust ultimatelylead to the abandonment

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414

JackM. Barbalet

principlewhich is centralto his theoryof stratification:


a sharp
delineationof a socialand not merelylogicalkindcannotbe drawn
betweenclassandstatus,andtheycannotfunctionasformalalternative
meansof socialstratification.
THE STRATIFICATION

STRUCTURE IN THE SOCIAI, CONSCIOUSNESS

It has been arguedabovethatWeber'sconceptionof classsituation


operatesnot through social-structural
factors,but through the
subjective
orientations
of individual
actors.Inaddition,theinadequacy
hasbeendemonstrated
of Weber's
conceptsof classtypesinexplaining
classstructure
in thesystemof socialstratification.
Theargument
that
statusfunctionsas an alternative
dimensionof socialstratification
to
classin Weberhasalso beenshownto be seriouslyunsatisfactory.
It
mustbe concludedthatno coherenttheoryof the socialstructure
of
stratification
canbe derivedfromWeberian
assumptions.
To renderWeber'stheoryof stratification
at leastconsistentit is
necessary
tO interpret
it asanexplanation
of thedifferent
waysinwhich
stratification
systemsaresociallyperceived.
Thisnot onlyresolvesthe
problemsof coherencein the conceptsof classand statusand their
empiricalrelations,but is entirelyharmonious
withhis intentionof
understanding
societyin termsof themeaningandsignificance
social
actionhasfortheactorsthemselves.
Raymond
Aronsensesthisaspectof
Weber'ssociologywhenhe saysthatforWeber
sociologicalstatements
. . . seekto arriveat or re-create. . . human
behaviourin termsof the meaningassignedto it by the actors
themselves.
Weber's
ambitionwasto understand
howmenhavelived
in differentsocietiesasa resultof different
beliefs.73
An interpretationof social reality which functionsthroughan
understanding
of thecognitiveorientation
of personsandgroupsisone
whichfocuseson culturalstructures.
Thebasicdistinction
betweentheculturalandthesocialstructures
is
thatthe formerimpliesa sharedcognitiveandevaluational
structure
wherethelatterimpliesa structure
of relationships
inwhichindividuals
andgroupsarevariouslyimplicated.74
Whiletheculturalstructure
is
permeated
by the ideaspersonshaveaboutthesocialrealityof which
theyarea part,thesocialstructure
canbe observed
independently
from
themeanings,motivesand intentionsof individualactors.It willbe
clearfrom precedingdiscussion,therefore,thatWeber'stheoryof
stratification
attemptsto explainclassandstatusas partsof a cultural
structure
of stratification.
Thepointhasbeenmadeby BendixthatWeber's'extrapolation
of
class-or status-oriented
actions'meansthata preference
foreconomic
advantage
givesriseto classstratification
anda preference
for social
honourgivesrise to statusstratification.75
Butas Bendixemploysa

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Prtnciples
olstratification
in MaxWeber

4 15

social-structural
interpretation
of Weber,the full significance
of this
statement
escapeshim.It is precisely
theunderstanding
of stratification
through'ananalysisof howa certainactionfollowsfromthechoiceof
certainalternatives'76
whichindicatesto Allardt,for instance,that
culturalstructure
is thesubjectofexplanation.
Weberrefersto thesocial
bases of choice or preferencebetweenalternatives
which lead to
differenttypesof socialaction generativeof eitherclassor status
StratlhCatlOn ln .]1S statement
t zat
Whenthe basesof the acquisitionand distributionof goods are
relativelystable, stratificationby status is favoured. Every
technological
repercussion
andeconomictransformation
threatens
stratification
by statusand pushes the class situationinto the
foreground.
Epochsandcountriesin whichthenakedclasssituation
is of predominant.significanceare regularlythe periods of
technologicaland economictransformations.
And ever slowing
downof theshiftingof economicstratification
leads,induecourse,to
the growthof statusstructures
andmakesfora resuscitation
of the
important
roleof socialhonour.77
It is implicitin thispassagethatwhetherclassor statusis 'favoured'
is a
matterof choicepromotedby the rate of socio-economicchange.
Second,it is explicitlystatedthatclassand statusmaybe alternative
meansof stratification
in a singlesociety,butnotcontemporaneously.
Bothpointsrequiredevelopment.
An explanationof the culturalstructureof stratification,
by either
classor status,is indicatedin Weber'snotionof economicinterest.
Economicinterest,to Weber,as the orientationof particularly
motivated
individuals,
isoperableonlywhenit ispursued.
Whilethereis
a probability
of economicinterestin classsituation
perse, therecanbe
no manifestation
of it in theabsenceof classaction.Weberindicates
that
it is thevisibleoppositionof interestswhichmostclearlygivesriseto
classsituations,and, therefore,it is theattemptto acquireeconomic
advantage
whichcreatesclassstratification.78
A stabilityof modesof
acquisition
anddistribution
of goods,on theotherhand,indicatesthe
absenceof directeconomiccontestation,
and,therefore,thatclassor
economicinterestis non-operative.In such situations,when the
economicinterests
of individuals
aresatisfied,
thereisa relativeabsence
of orientationto the pursuitof economicadvantage
and,instead,an
inclinatlonto theenjoyment
of economicadvantage
alreadyachieved.
At thesetimes,Webernotes,individualorientationstend to follow
principlesof consumption
andthe attainment
of socialesteem.79
But
such stability and orientations are disrupted by economic
transformation
and technological
development,
for theselargelyshift
thebalanceof economicadvantage.
Previously
satisfied
individuals
and
groupswill find in the emergingsituationthattheydo indeedhave
economicinterestswhichtheyareledto pursue.It is on thesegrounds
.

,%

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416

JachM. Barbalet

thatWeberarguesthat statuspredominates
whenthereis a stable
arrangement
of accessto goods, and class at times of economic
transformation.80

Weber's
argument
isnotnecessarily
thattheeconomicdetermination
of lifechanceceasesto function'whenthebasesof theacquisition
and
distribution
of goodsarerelatively
stable'andthata socialevaluation
of
prestigecannotoccurduring'periodsof technological
andeconomic
transformation'.
Rather,it is thatthe rateof socio-economic
change
determines
howpersonschooseto act;andit is alwaystheparticular
contentof thechoiceof actionwhichdetermines
theculturalstructure
of stratification.
It is exclusively
whetherindividuals
perceivetheirclass
situationor their positionin a statushierarchyas crucialto an
understanding
of societyandtheorientation
of theirinteractions
within
it,whichprescribes
theculturalstructure
of stratification.
Itfollowsthat
not only are the terms'class'and 'status'mutuallyexclusivein the
formal sense, but their empiricalrepresentations
in the cultural
structure
areliterallyalternative
dimensions
of stratification.
According
to Weberclassstratification,
forexample,
willbecomemostclearlyefficacious
whenall otherdeterminants
of
reciprocalrelationsare, as far as possible,eliminatedin their
significance.8l

That is, when class stratificationis culturallydominant,social


perception
of statusstratification
is relatively
absent,andviceversa.
Weber'stheoIyof stratification,
accordingto the interpretation
outlinedin thissectionof thepaper,is notonlyinternally
coherent,
but
also fully consistent with Weber's methodologicalprinciples.
Methodological
individualism,
whichemphasizesthe socialactor's
meanings,intentionsandmotives,andtheideal-typeconceptsof class
andstatus,referring
to alternative
meansof stratification,
haveinearlier
discussionbeen shown to be inconsistentwith a social-structural
interpretation
of Weber'stheoIyof stratification.
Aninterpretation
of
Weberwhichshowsthathisanalysisexplainsthestratification
structure
in the socialconsciousness,
on theotherhand,is entirelyharmonious
withboththesocialactionapproach
andtheideal-type
conceptsofclass
andstatus.
J. M. Barbalet
Department of Sociology
The Australian National University

NOTES
1. MaxWeber, EconomyandSociety,New
York, Bedminster Press, 1968, vol. i, pp.
302-7, vol. ii, pp. 926-40. Also Max

Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic


Organization, New York, The Free Press,
1964, pp. 424-g, and Hans Gerth and C.

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in Max Weber
Principlesof stratification
WrightMills(eds),FromMax Weber:Essays
London,RoutledgeandKegan
in Sociology,
Paul,1970, pp. l 80-95.
2. Talcott Parsons, 'Introduction'to
Weber,1964,0p. cit., p. 3o n. 1.
3. Dick Atkinson, OrthodoxConsensus
Radical Alternative, London,
and
Heinemann,1971, pp.71-2.
4. Weber, 1964, op. cit., p. 88.
Quotationsin the rest of this paragraph
arefromthe samesource.
5. Ibid.,p. 102.
6. Ibid.,pp. 107-8.
7. Parsons,op. cit., p. 22.
8. Percy Cohen, ModernSocial Theory,
London,Heinemann,1975, p. g5.
9. StevenLukes,'PowerandStructure',
Essaysin SocialTheory,London,Macmillan,
977,p 7-

o. Ibid.,pp. 8-9.
1l. Erik Allardt, 'Structural,Institutionaland CulturalExplanations',Acta
vol. 15, no. 1 (1972), p.59.
Sociologica,
2. Weber,1964,0p. cit., pp. 107-8.
13. Hans Gerthand C. WrightMills,
'Introduction'to Weber,1970, op. cit., p.
5714. LewisCoser, Mastersof Sociologtcal
Thought, New York, Harcourt, Brace,
Jovanovich,1971, pp .217-18.
5. Ibid.,p. 226.
16. ReinhardBendix,Max Weber:An
Intellectual Portrait, London, Methuen,
1966, pp. xviii-xix; S. N. Eisenstadt,
'Introduction'to Max Weberon Charisma
and Institution Building, Chicago,
Universityof Chicago Press, 1968, p.
xxxiii; Steven Lukes, Individualism,
Oxford, Blackwell,1973, p. 111 n. 3. A

recentattemptto do thesamefor Weber's


sociology of religion is MaryFulbrook,
Sociology":a
'MaxWeber's"Interpretive
comparisonof conceptionand practice',
Brit.J. of Sociol.,vol. 29, no. 1 (1978).
17. Weber,1970, op. cit., p. 181. The
founded
tri-partitemodelof stratiScation
on an equaldistinctionof class,statusand
of
power,typicalof manyinterpretations
Weber, is therefore unacceptable.See
AnthonyGiddens,TheClassStructureofthe
AdvancedSocieties,London, Hutchinson,
1973, p.44. Weber,1970,0p. cit., p. 194,
mentions that parties also relate to
the distributionof power, but as they
merelyrepresentinterestsdeterminedby

417

class or status, or some other basis of


group formation, they are derivative
phenomena and not germaine to the
presentolscusslon.
8. Ibid.,p. 193.
19. Weber,1964, op. cit., p. 424. The
phrase'classsituation'of Weber,1970 is
preferredto the confusing'classstatus'of
Weber,1964, and usedthroughout.
20. Weber,1970,0p. cit., p. 181.
21. See,for example,J. E. T. Eldridge,
.

Max Weber: The Interpretationof Social


Reality,London,Nelson, 1971, pp.73-4;
Gerthand Mills,op. cit., p. 69; Giddens,
op. cit., pp. 43,80.
22. Weber,1970,0p. cit., p. 187.
23. Ibid.,p. 183.
24. Elsewhere,though, Weber, 1964,
op. cit., p. 425, refers to slaves as a

negativelyprivilegedpropertyclass.Itwill
be clearfrom discussionbelow that this
apparent contradictionderives from a
of Weber,
interpretation
social-structural
andis resolvedwhen'class'and'status'are
seento referto thedifferentwaysin which
is culturallyperceived.
stratification
25. Weber,1970,0p. cit., p. 183.
26. Ibid.,p. 301; emphasisadded.
27. Ibid.,pp. 181-2.
28. Weber,1964,0p. cit., p. 424.
29. Karl Marx, The GermanIdeolofv,
Moscow,ProgressPublishers,1968, p.44.
30. Weber,1970,0p. cit., p. 183.
31. Ibid.,p. 405.
32. Ibid.,p. 182.
33. Weber,1964,0p. cit., p. 136.
34. Ibid.,pp.ll2-l3.
35. Ibid.,p. 115.
36. Dennis Wrong, Max

Weber,

EnglewoodCliffs,Prentice-Hall,1970, p.
25.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.
42.

Weber,1970,0p. cit., pp. lgo, 301.


Ibid.,p. 184; emphasisadded.
Weber,1964,0p. cit., pp. 424-5.
Ibid.,pp. 424-7.
Giddens,op. cit., p. 42.
OliverCox, 'MaxWeberon Social
A Critique',Am.Soctol.Rev.,
Stratification:
vol. 15, no. 2 (1950), p. 227. This partty
derivesfrom the ideal typenatureof the
concepts,an issue to be takenup below
withreferenceto 'status'.
43. Weber,1964,0p. cit., p. 426.
44. Cox, op. cit., p. 227; Giddens,op.
cit., pp. 78-9.

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JackM. Barbalet

418

45. Weber,1964,op. cit., p. 246.


46. Ibid., pp. 233-8, 254-61. Giddens,
op. cit., pp. 131, attemptsto give the
Marxian notion of exploitation a
Weberianglossandsucceedsin reducingit
merelyto a loose distributiveconceptof
socialinequality.
47. Weber,1970,op. cit., p. 185.
48. Ibid.,pp. 184-5.
49. Weber,1964,op. cit., pp. 132ff.
50. Ibid.,p. 424.
51. Giddens,op. cit., p. 79.
52. Weber, 1964, op. cit., p. 429;
Giddens,op. cit., p. 48.
53. Ibid., p. l O7; Frank Parkin,
'Strategiesof Social Closure in Class
Formation',in Parkin (ed.), The Social
Analysis of Class Structure. London,
TavistockPublications,1974.
54. See Weber, 1964, op. cit., pp.
139-40;Parkin,op. cit., pp. 3-4.
55. Weber,1964,op. cit., p. 110.
of the
56. Max Weber,TheMethodology
SocialSciences,New York,The FreePress,
1949,pp. go, gg-100 andpassim;Weber,
1964, op. cit., p. 110; Weber,1970, op.
cit., pp. 323-4; Max Weber, 'Marginal
Utility Theory and "The Fundamental
soc.sci.t., vol.
Lawof Psychophysics"',
56 (1975),p. 34
57. ReinhardBendix, 'Inequalityand
SocialStructure:A Comparisonof Marx
andWeber',Am.Sociol.Rev., vol. 39, no. 2
(1974),p. 153
58. Weber,1970,op. cit., p. 193.
59. Weber,1964,op. cit., p. 429.
60. Weber,1970,op. cit., pp. 321-2.
61. See,forexample,Bendix, 1974,op.
cit., pp. 156, 157-8; LloydFallers,'Social
Stratificationand EconomicProgressin
Africa',in Bendixand Lipset(eds),Class,
Status,and Power,London,Routledgeand
KeganPaul,1974,p.143. Theexplanatory
force of'status' in this sense is noted by
FrankParkin,ClassInequalityand Political
Order, London, Paladin, 1972, pp. 2 9,
38-9, who prefers it over other
applications of the concept. See also
Goran Therborn, What Does the Ruling
ClassDo Whenit Rules? London,New Left
Books,1978,p. 141.

62. Weber,1970,op. cit., p. 187.


63. T. H. Marshall,Class, Citizenship,
and Social Development, New York,
Doubleday,1964,p. 127.
64. Weber,1970,op. cit., p. 190.
65. See,forexample,W. G. Runciman,
Relative Deprivation and Social Justice,

Harmondsworth,Penguin, 1972, p. 45;


but see also Parkin, 1972, op. cit., pp.
3o- 1.
66. Weber,1964,op. cit., p. 428.
67. Weber,1970,op. cit., p. 301.
68. Weber,1964,op. cit., p. 428.
69. Weber,1970,op. cit., p. 405.
7o. Ibid.,p. 193.
71. Weber,1964,p. 250.
72. Weber,1970,op. cit., p. 301.
73. RaymondAron, Main Currentsin
SociologicalThought,London, Weidenfeld
and Nicolson,1970,vol. ii, p. 192.
74. Allardt,op. cit.; RobertMerton,
andSocialStructure,NewYork,
SocialTheory
The FreePress,1968,p. 216.
75. Bendix,1974,op. cit., p. 153.
76. Allardt,op. cit., p. 64.
77. Weber,1970,op. cit., pp. 193-4.
78. Ibid.,p. l 86.
79. Ibid.,p. 193.
80. Weber's explanation of cultural
systems of stratification is probably
empiricallyfalse. It has been shown by
Marshall,op. cit.,p.188, forinstance,that
'preoccupationwith socialstatusmaybe
stimulatedboth by fluidityand rigidityin
the socialsystem'.In generalthereis little
supportfor the argumentthatthe rateof
socio-economicchangeuniformlyaffects
the social perceptionof the stratification
structurein thewaythatWeber'shypothesis suggests.Whatcurrentresearchdoes
show is that the consequencesof socioculturalchangeon thesocialstructureand
are mediated
its culturalrepresentations
by institutionalfactorssuchas the sizeof
workorganizations,differentialaccessto
educationalqualifications,professionalizationof occupationalcategoriesand so
on, about which Weberhas nothing to
say.
81. Weber,1970,op. cit., p. 185.

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