"Class, Status, Party"




Summary By

Tatiana Ware


Central Ideas:
· The structure of legal order influences the distribution of power within a given community. Classes, status groups and parties are representations of the distribution of power with in a community (119).
· According to Weber, there are 4 spheres: the economic, the social, legal and power. Classes and status groups influence one another and together influence the legal sphere. Parties operate in the power sphere and attempt to acquire social power and are only possible in groups with an “associated character” with staff who can enforce it (128).
· Classes are not communities, but possible bases for social action. This doesn’t necessarily agree wit today’s conceptions/uses of class but would Marx agree?
· Ethnic segregation- coexisting vs the caste system: Coexistence fosters mutual distain and the belief that one’s own ethnic groups is superior, whereas a caste system brings about “social subordination” and the acknowledgement that another group might be more honorable than one’s own (125).
On the nature of human nature:
It seems that its human nature to not only act socially, but for humans to organize into groups, and to assign value to those groups.
Is there human agency?
Weber doesn’t describe the agency of individuals, or the agency of classes or groups. However there appears to be some agency not only within the party structure, but in the purpose of the party itself. Individuals can assume roles of leadership within the party, and the party seeks to leverage itself against other associations to gain power.
Can there be equality?
There appears to be equality within groups and classes but not between groups and classes. The legal and power spheres seem to be based on those differences.

Discussion points

Discussion Questions:
It still isn’t entirely clear what the difference is between class and status, outside of the fact that class is economic, and status is primarily social (128) and there’s some overlap. However, I can’t think of an example where those two concepts are not linked in some way, except maybe being the president of a neighborhood association. Can you?
Which association is stronger? An economic (class based) or ethnic (social)?