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Weber Class Status Party Notes

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Max Weber - Class, Status, Party

2. Determination of Class-Situation by Market-Situation
● Classes are not communities - they represent possible and frequent bases for communal action
● A class situation is:
○ the chance for a supply of goods, external living conditions and life experiences where this chance is determined by power to dispose of goods or skills for the sake of income.
■ essentially, where goods and living conditions depend on market power and action
● A class is:
○ a group of people with a specific causal component of their life chances in common, where this component is represented:
■ in economic interests in possession of goods and income opportunities
■ under the conditions of the commodity/labour markets
● Disposition over material property in an exchange market creates life chances
○ this advantages owners over non-owners, owing to the law of marginal utility
○ market exchange advantages those who do not have to sell over those who do, and the latter group are forced to sell their services cheaply as a result
○ hence property and lack of property are 'the basic categories of all class situations'
● Within the two categories of 'property' and 'lack of property', classes are differentiated according to the kind of property available, and the kind of services available
● The concept of class presupposes the game of chance in the market, and hence the existence of a market
○ possession is not a category upon which classes are formed, whereas property is
○ the fate of slaves is not determined by market activity, and hence slaves are not a class, but a status group

3. Communal Action Flowing from Class Interest
● So, classes are created by economic interest, and even at at only by those interests tied up in the market
○ but these interests are somewhat ambiguous, and do not necessarily lead to certain types of action
○ direction of interests may vary according to whether communal action has followed from the common economic interest e.g. through a trade union
○ the degree to which mass (and disparate?) actions are translated into communal and societal action will depend upon cultural and intellectual conditions
● In order for class action to occur, classes must not just see the contrast in life chances at the market exchange, but recognise it as the result of:
○ the given distribution of property
■ basis of class action in antiquity, middle ages, feudalism etc (when food and agriculture were exploited for profit)
○ or the structure of the concrete economic order
■ as in the case of the modern proletariat

4. Types of 'Class Struggle'
● Hence a class may form the basis for class action, but will not necessarily do so
● Class is not the same as community
○ denigratory comments about the idea that an individual can be in error as to his interest,

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