Social class means a group of individuals with common characteristics from an economic, behavioral and ideological point of view of the world around them. Throughout the history of social sciences, there have been several reflections and definitions about a social class and the implications of belonging to one or the other. This type of definition is not without controversy and in general is within a theoretical framework that intends to explain an exegetical reading of the social phenomenon as a whole. The two main definitions within sociology correspond to Marx and Weber, definitions that are often presented as antagonistic.
For Marx, a social class is defined by its way of relating to the means of production and by the way its income is obtained . Thus, based on its theoretical position, there are two social classes that are antagonistic in interests within capitalism: the bourgeoisie , which has ownership of the means of production; and the proletariat , the oppressed class that is forced to sell its labor power to the bourgeoisie in order to survive. From a Marxist point of view, this antagonism would end with the victory of the proletariat and give way (after the period of state appropriation ) to a society without social classes.
Weber, for his part, dismisses these considerations, especially by setting aside any determination necessary for a social class. For this author, a social class is defined by an objective market position and is not aware of any type of unit . Thus, what is important to define a social class are its possibilities of access to goods and services; this is just one way of explaining social organization, and there may be others. Weber recognizes bids and conflicts of interest within a social base, but under no point of view does he consider them as determining factors for constituting a class.
These approaches have been the most visible and relevant, giving importance to a succession of debates and reflections. However, it is possible to find great classifications of a social class, as well as numerous interpretations of what it means to belong to one or the other. This is explained, without a doubt, by the very achievements of sociology as a science that lacks exactitude. It is therefore essential to keep distance with each theoretical approach that is considered, in order to avoid incurring in simplifications and reductionisms.