According to Davis and Moore, it’s a mandatory for any society to be stratified. To explain this, the first step of the argument is from the position of a classless society. Then stratification comes to structuring the society in different dimensions. These include functional and social systems. Therefore, stratification explains the social and functional inequality of the society. It gives focus to the creation and systems, opportunities and positions and explains the reason making particular individuals occupy those positions and not others.
Davis and Moore describe the functions that a stratification system performs to a society. The major functions include religion, government, and technical knowledge. Others include wealth, property and labor (Davis & Moore, 21). To start with, religion is necessary for the unity of society. This is made possible through the values and norms taught in the religious places that the same feeling and behavior is installed to all members of society. The communication creates a moral pressure defined by reality through the supply of religious values. Secondly, government plays a vital role in stratification of society. Here, this could be discussed in terms of power, law and authority. Enforcement of norms, conflicting interests and the planning of the society’s direction by the government creates a unique sequence and structure that defines a society from another. Technical knowledge is a function towards the achievements of single goals. The same situation goes for wealth, property and labor. However, for wealth, property and labor, the livelihood of a generalized society is identified. Here, a society may be rewarded in economic terms or otherwise.
Davis and Moore’s ideas are contrary to Marx’s explanation of the reasons behind the unequal structure of the society. On his history of opinions, Marx describes the ideological forms of consciences that conflict and fight opposite forces as the reason behind the unequal society structure. This idea criticizes Davis and Moore’s argument in that; functionalism of stratification is not entirely based on factors such as religion and government.
Robert Merton argues that the social structure of any society primarily depends on an individual’s imperious biological drives other than factors of social control. In his theory of “social structure and Aniomie” Merton explains further motives that derive a person to achieve. These motives are classified into culture goals and institutional norms. On the other hand, in an article entitled “In search of Respect”, Marx explains that Bourgois is a result of course development in a series of production and exchange (Merton et al., 23). The superiority of feudal ties exists between people. Such factors are the ones defining the social structure, as opposed to the naked interest and out-side driven motivation such as money and so forth. The two theories present similar opinion in the following ways:
1. First, they both suggest that a social structure is the end result of imperious biological drives between members of the society. These drives include the issue of culture and institutional norms. What people struggle to achieve, but in accordance to the set norms of the society automatically structures the society. This is to say that people will always have a tendency to go by their cultural norms at whatever cost and regardless of the other day by day out-side forces. For instance, a society is expected to practice their cultural values even if there is interference another culture.
2. Secondly, the two theories neglect the notion of personal interests outside motivation in determining the structure of the society. For instance, things like money among other non-cultural factors do not matter or dictate the categorization of social structure of a particular society.
In bourgeois interpretation, the society is controlled by a class of capitalists who dictate the way of life of low ranked members of the society. These are the employees and wage-laborers of the capitalists firms. A bourgeois society is then dictated which such structural system plus cultural factors. To explain the reason behind Primo and Caesar involvement and to deal with drugs, an analysis could be put under three structural factors. They include:
The society’s means of production and exchange influence the intrusive motives of an individual member of the Bourgeois society. In this consideration, people such as Primo and Caesar may have been motivated by this condition of the society. For instance, if there is a ready availability of drugs in the society, which means that, there is production of these prohibited products and only done by the capitalist class, Primo and Caesar cannot escape dealing with drugs. This is because they are just low wage-laborers whose life is dictated and controlled by the capitalist bourgeois society. The well of and providers of capital are the determiners of the society’s situation in terms of social production. Evidently, the production and availability of market for drugs cannot put away people of Promo and Caesar’s caliber in the bourgeois society (Bourgois, 21).
For a society such as the bourgeois, attainment of order is always difficult. This is because the structural order drives the society. In most cases, the determiners of social production shape the condition of the society to suit their interests. For instance, it is evident that the real dealers of drugs are the rich capital owners. However, they distract or influence the order of the society in employing the wage-laborers such as Promo and Caesar in this risk industry to destroy their life. The breach of social order entails unlawful actions where the society has a tendency of sequences of unlawful conduct. In this society, it is very difficult for low life individuals to escape crime in one way, or another.
Isolation of the laborers due to competition
In the bourgeois society, laborers are characterized with less technical and entrepreneurship skills required for exploitation of the available opportunities. Only the owners of capital have the chance to provide their generations with education and all necessities needed in the job market (Bourgois, 27). This situation means that laborers are left isolated and cannot compete with the capitalists. In an effort to seek for alternative ways to secure their living, they end up engaging in criminal activities like the case of Promo and Caesar. Isolation is a serious social structure that keeps the unequal trends for opportunities carry on for generation and generations. The fate of an individual is determined during birth, that is, if one is born in a rich or poor and struggling family. It is for this reason that Promo and Caesar do drugs as an alternative to bear with the condition and state of competition of the society.
According to Bourgeois, the above structural factors interact with other cultural situation to determine the fate of an individual. For example, the above factors could lead to a severe destruction of family relation in Promo and Caesar’s lives. This means that the sentimental attachment with their immediate family members and friends could completely be damaged. Therefore, the cultural roles and expectations from such individuals are eroded away. Furthermore, instead of Promo and Caesar’s life develop in accordance with the pace of the developing economy; they sink deep into the roots of existence of their social classes.
There are several illustrations of Bourgeois incorporating both instructional and cultural factors to determine the life chance of an individual. In no particular order, some of the factors include that of stale family ties of wage-laborers due to the forces of production and exchange, structural organization of the society and isolation due to competition for opportunities. Here, instead of members of the society engage in cultural roles and expectation of the larger society, their life strays into crime (Bourgois, 19). Their life values and roles in the society take into another dimension. Therefore, the combination of structural factors has a direct impact to cultural factors to the expectation of the generalized society.
In an agency to salvage the situation for the low class individuals in the society, they engage in alternative ways of survival. In most cases, the alternative ways are the less desired escape routes. For example, Promo and Caesar chose to deal in drugs for the sake of their lives. If the situation, structural and cultural condition of the society were different, Promo and Caesar could be involved in some other desirable activities. They could not be left in the hands and control of the social production determiners of the bourgeois society. Therefore, the act of doing drugs is the response to the competition and structural imbalance of the society. It can be concluded that structural and cultural elements are always the reasons for agency actions that individuals engage into to save their situation.
The analytical approaches and presentations in Bourgeois “In Search of Respect” provide a benchmark that could be interpreted in various social and general situations. The structural oppressions of the disadvantaged groups in the society force them into crime activities. In my opinion, it is true that the choice of a poor fellow does depend on the will of the decision makers and owners of the social productive society. In this case, Promo and Caesar have fewer options and an easier one is to deal in drugs. Furthermore, this choice is beyond their reach. This is because the opportunity in drugs in also made available by the rich (Bourgois, 33). As the poor are influenced by the rich employers, the situation of Promo and Caesar is understandable and a reality in the society today.
However, from my perspective, I do not entirely agree on the notion that decisions such as Promo and Caesar’s are only as a result of influence of economic factors. Bourgeois analysis is reliable and realistic, but it does not consider other factors of influence. Therefore, the analysis is not a stereotypical portrayal of the exact society situation. For the study of today’s social and political structure in the determination of classical categorization of the society, Bourgeois analysis could be critical. For this reason, bourgeois explanations of the structural and cultural conditions to influence a choice are valid. The analysis could be applied in recent phenomena to explain the rise of riots and protests in various regions in the world today. For instance, social oppression is understood to be among the primary motives of the recent protests in France, and mostly in countries in the African and Asian continents. For my objection to this analysis, I can provide my criticism as below:
1. One is that, not all oppressed members of a society are forced to take a choice such as Promo and Caesar. The analysis does not provide room of other alternatives that may be positive for the oppressed community. Here, the analysis views the marginalized community as the solemnly community engaging in actions of crime. Evidently, this is a false perception. This is because there is always a positive option such as engaging low wage jobs other than dealing with drugs.
2. My second criticism to Bourgeois analysis is that even the rich and owners of capital in the society engage directly in criminal activities. This happens even though such individuals control all the resources and provide almost every opportunity in the society. Their involvement in crime could be explained to be as a result of bad influence, peer pressure or even by voluntary choice (Bourgois, 30). After all, the political structure in which such individuals live is dormant in response to their evil action. This is because such people are often the managers and have a great influence to the political situation.
As mentioned above, it is evident that the analysis presents some concerns and limitations. However, it is in one way or another true reflection of the general situation of the society. For this reason, I find the analysis convincing and valid analysis. I have arrived into this conclusion simple because, I think it takes some other factors constant. That is the factors discussed as limitations of the analysis. Furthermore, the validity of bourgeois is due to the fact that the general situation of the global society tends to take the structure mentioned under this analysis.
Merton, R. K. "Social structure and anomie." American sociological review 3.5 (1938): 672-682. Print.
Bourgois, Philippe I. In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Print.
Kingsley, Davis, and Wilbert E. Moore. "Some principles of stratification." American sociological review (n.d.): 243-261. Web. June 1942.
Tucker, Robert C. THE MARX-ENGELS. 2nd ed. newyork, london: Princeton University, n.d. Print.