Status Class and Power
Max Weber’s well known analysis of social stratification stresses the differences between societies where status or honour exercises the controlling influence on stratification. He distinguishes between those where class or control of material resources decides the awarding of status and access to power, and those where naked coercion or power decides how material resources and status are allocated.
Agricultural Societies. During the Late Stone Age and Bronze Age, breeding for improved quality and quantity was important for these economies usually ruled by an elite who inherit status. Material resources are controlled by this elite and they monopolise coercive power since the land-lords are usually experienced war-lords. Literate religious intellectuals and image-making craftsmen provide the rationalisations and propaganda needed to maintain stability. The core values in these societies centred on fertility and were anchored in extended patriarchal families. Frequently promises of immortality, resurrection and salvation provided incentives to conform but tradition in itself is a powerful motivation.