SY4 Social Inequality
Make sure you incorporate contemporary themes into SY4 paper, using a Weberian analysis which provides the most comprehensive explanation of recent events.
Weber argued that social inequality is based on broader differences in power, not only on class. Weber believed that class involved market position, ownership and ease of mobility, but that status and party were also important in determining the degree of power available to an individual. Status groups share ownership and patterns of consumption, whilst party refers to those who are organised in some way (and therefore have greater power).
The concern over the 'school conspiracy in Birmingham' (BBC News March 2014) can be seen as part of a wider concern over party: this is not about class, so much as about party. Equally, the moral panic over the educational performance of white working class boys in school (described as an 'educational underclass' by Christian Guy, director of the Centre for Social Justice in September 2013] challenges deep-seated notions of class, status and party in the white majority. This, and the efforts of the educational establishment to rectify the position, can be explained through Weberian analysis. In line with Weberian predictions, the well-documented poor performance of working class girls is less well addressed, in fact, it is more or less absent from the educational agenda, subsumed under a general concern over those receiving FSM. Moreover, the worst performing group of all, a group without class, party or status, Gypsy, Roma children, were excluded from the CSJ survey.
Taking a related, broader perspective, the rise of UKIP and the rise of the right in Europe can be explained through Weberian and Marxist theories, but the former is more comprehensive. The UKIP campaign focused not on what immigration has given, but on the fear of what it might take away; whilst fear of Europe tapped into fear of loss of status, loss of party. UKIP have fostered growing divisions within the work-force along ethnic lines, dividing, in particular, the working class, as reflected in Natcen's British Social Attitudes (2014) survey which found that those most likely to be prejudiced were white working class men. A group with status, party but without property seeking to root out those without party, class or status. Equally interesting was the finding that white middle class men have shown the greatest rise in prejudice. What Parekh (2014), the Labour peer has been quoted as identifying as "a deepening sense of insecurity in the workplace" reflects changing patterns of educational success and employment rates from both ethnic minority groups and women. It could be argued that the political shift is a response to the perception that the dual-labour market, which served the interests of white men so successfully, is no longer dual.