Ideologies and Social Class

Daniel Bell:
Bell was a scholar and intellect whose profound writings highly impacted the world of sociology. In, The End of Ideology, Bell stated that the nineteenth and twentieth century ideologies were being drained and that a more insular ideological method was going to take lead. He described himself as a “socialist in economics, a liberal in politics, and a conservative in culture”. This put him in the front running for major criticism on his work. In this particular composition there were five major criticisms. The first was that many people, mainly left-wingers thought that this was a resistance of the state of affairs pertaining to our nation at that moment in time. Secondly, it was modulating the political debates of the time from the social elite. This writing also called for a consensus versus a dialogue of honesty concerning our national affairs. Also the fact that he was a democrat in his youth played a huge part in the discord he experience after this conservative piece was released. Lastly, Bell predicted his own critique in the article. This was that the extreme disputes between the government and the people of the nation would cause radical groups to form; this went against his theory that ideology would become narrow. Bell thought that ideologies would eventually be non-existent, and that a classless society would eventually develop.
Erik Olin Wright:
Wright is an analytical Marxist, whose focus was mainly on social classes. He elaborated on Marxist theories. Like Marx he was aware of the limited access and exclusions that lowers class had to productive and economic resources which clearly was a method to hold them back so that they remain stagnant while the rich got richer. Market dimensions pertaining to exchange relations was a big point of Wright’s work as well. Also like Marx, Wright was very conscious of the income that the working class grossed versus the amount that the corporation itself was paid. Wright feels that more skilled and certified workers were not capitalist, but was in a position of privilege that would cause them to earn more than the typical non skilled or less educated workers. This was a happy medium. The more skilled workers labor in correlation to their labor wages was more balanced than the unskilled worker.
Pierre Bourdieu:
Bourdieu’s work was focused on the dynamics of power in our society. Bourdieu acknowledged that power was generational and dare I say cultural. He understood there to be a social order that was being maintained throughout eras, particularly in the Western world. Arguably his most notable book, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, was renowned as one of the six most important text pertaining to sociology in the past century. This writing was a realist look at the nation and how decisions on perception are directly associated with social positions. He says that those who accept the judgmental “taste”, accept the existing limitations placed on the social classes. This book ultimately states that class is based upon social groups that we uphold. In reference to class fractions, which are visual differentiations created by people, we further generate subgroups. This even goes as far as stating that we have predispositions to foods, music, and clothes. These things trickle down to the children, thus the cycle continues. His theories of social stratification heavily impacted the sociological realm.

Application:
I would definitely apply Bourdieu’s thought of “taste” to the way different races are associated with music. African American people are always widely associated with rap music. Not the conscious rap, but the loud ignorant tunes that would hear from a ghetto “hood”. As far as Caucasians are concerned, many people would connect them to a honky tonk hillbilly type country music. Whereas there are calm country songs that are being crooned. As Bourdieu so eloquently states is that if we choose to let these “judgmental taste”, be our ideal way of life that we will remain stagnant. We would be choosing to accept the stigmas that society have placed on us. Contrary to popular belief I know of plenty black people that love country music and vice versa.
Critique:
I did not feel that Bell was very consistent with his beliefs. He seemed to not have a reliable platform. Maybe I’m a little biased of his beliefs, but did he really think that ideologies would eventually cease to exist? However, in that exact same writing he stated that due to radicals that there would be a revolt against politics and politicians; thus ideologies would remain relevant. I never can agree with theorist who think that the nation can come to a consensus on anything. There is no way that society can ever be boxed in and narrow-minded.
Two Questions:
Can a classless nation be sustained? If there was no person in power, how would that affect the nation?
Has higher education become an institution used to eradicate the poor?

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