Erik Wright’s Model of Stratification is based on Karl Marx’s view of social stratification. Wright holds that not every individual falls into the two broad categories defined by Marx (capitalists and workers). Wright gives the example of executives, managers, and supervisors who based on Marx’s perspective are supposed to fall into the category of workers. However, they act more like capitalists than workers. Wright, therefore, established that some people can simultaneously be in more than one class. He referred to the phenomenon as contradictory class locations (Wright, 2019).
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Based on his criticism of Marx’s perspective, Wright modified Marx’s model of social class to develop a model of stratification in which he identified four classes. The classes are capitalists, petty bourgeoisie, managers, and workers. The capitalist class comprises the owners of large enterprises characterized by being the dominant mode of production. The petty bourgeoisie class entails owners of small businesses characterized by simple commodity production. Managers are employees who have authority over others including executives, top-level managers, middle-level managers, and lower-level supervisors. Workers are involved in the day-to-day operations of the firm performing various specified tasks to achieve the bottom line of the organization (Wright, 2019).
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It is worth noting that even in the above-described four classes, there still exist contradictory class locations. For instance, in the workers class there exist semi-autonomous employees and employees who lack autonomy. Semi-autonomous employees maintain a certain degree of control over their immediate work while non-autonomous employees have no degree of freedom in decision-making (Wright, 2019). In conclusion, Wright’s model of social stratification preserves the basic structures of Marx’s theory of social class but demonstrates how the relationships may not be as clear as Marx suggests.
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