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essay - There are three different frameworks through which...

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There are three different frameworks through which sociologists can explain the existence of poverty and inequality within a society. The first analyzes stratification on an individual level, stating that individuals’ personality traits such as talent, skill and motivation determines their places in society. In other words, the greater level of innate ability one has, the greater his or her position in society will be. The second dimension of inequality looks more toward economic shifts to explain stratification. Recessions and depressions will augment class divides, while economic booms will lessen them. The third dimension, about which Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote, explains inequality in terms of class conflict and power—they called this the materialist conception of history, or historical materialism. Marx and Engels wrote about the materialist conception of history in their Manifesto of the Communist Party. According to Marx and Engels, “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” This means that throughout history, all societies have been split into classes wherein one class dominated over the other. “Class” under Marxism refers to a group of people who share a position in the economic system—it does not refer to gender, race or age. In historical materialism, society is dichotomized into two classes: the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. All class struggles derive from the critical distinction between these groups. It is important to note that the classification of bourgeoisie and proletariat emerged with the rise of capitalism. However, this does not mean that class struggles did not exist before capitalism—after all, the Communist Manifesto examines the history of all existing society.
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