By Gary Littlejohn (auth.)

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The logical problem is how to reconcile the claim that a level has effects of its own with the claim that it is determined from outside, from another level with which it is somehow structurally connected but not merged. This is the problem of'relative autonomy' of a superstructure determined 'in the last instance' by the economy, the problem being crudely that either politics is wholly determined by the economy, in which case it is difficult to treat them as distinct levels, or else the effects of the economy Stratification or Relations of Production?

In this sense, Lenin's well-known summary 15 of the Marxist position on classes is quite correct: Classes are large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system 24 A Sociology ofthe Soviet Union of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated in law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organisation oflabour, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and the mode of acquiring it.

Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organisation, The Free Press, New York, 1964, p. 424. I have used the term 'class position' instead of the translation 'class status' because the latter may be confused with Weber's concept of'status'. Ibid. Ibid, p. 427. The bland phrase 'social stratification' is symptomatic of this theoretical Stratification or Relations of Production? 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 41 vagueness, but it should be pointed out that substituting a phrase like 'social inequality' does little to help, unless backed by some theoretical support; on its own the phrase 'social inequality' merely avoids the assumption that forms of social differentiation coalesce into strata.

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