Thus Bücher rejects Schmeller's theory that the work makes the man and chooses to believe that the different social classes choose the various vocations, leaving the least desirable occupation to those with the greatest immediate need or with the least training and conditioning in restrain and in long-term planning.* * *
Bouglé attributes to socialist theory, in particular, the doctrine that "the division of labor gave rise to the classes and that social specialization is a result of technical specialization." 15 Marshall affirms Bücher: "In all societies Social Class is concerned with the selection of occupations ... the conventional view for a man of a given station to occupy himself." 16 Landtman says that "the rich and powerful prefer to leave every kind of industrial employment to others, whereby divisions of occupations is brought about." 17
The economic interpretation of causation in this sphere of is championed by Fahlbeck. It is his opinion that in this age persons are not bound to the class of their birth.
The work of an individual "determines his final position in the social sense." 18
Nothaas agrees with Fahlbeck: "... occupation has become the basis of class identification... occupation more than anything else determines class membership in modern society..." 19 No intimation is given here, as is strongly stated by Bücher and Marshall, that status determines occupational choices and chances.
Fairchild 20 lists occupation as one of the free choices of the individual. A full expression of this theory would probably reveal that the average person may have a wide range of choices with regard to type of calling but not with regard to the rank of the occupation chosen.
Indeed, the occupational opportunities of the average person are severely limited by his class standing. His parents may neglect him; they may exploit him; they may want to see him at an early age independent of their support. (Study and observation reveal these to be the habits of the lowest classes generally.) They lack the foresight, the moral stamina (inhibitions), and the means to give their children the home life, education, poise, and connections which might improve their lot. The opposite is true of the entrenched middle and upper classes, in general.
The social class interpretation of occupational choice in contradiction to the economic interpretation is stated succinctly by Bouglé: "... instead of belonging to a particular class because one has entered a particular vocation, one enters a particular vocation because one belongs to a particular class. Social standing governs the distribution of functions." 21
The simplest analysis of modern society reveals that occupational categories do not correspond to hierarchies of social prestige, privilege, honor, and power. A "lawyer" is a person who has passed the Bar examination. He may be highly esteemed, or he may blush when his friends refer to him as a lawyer, because he may be finishing his fourth year with the Works Progress Administration.Next Page
A person's "position in the occupation," as stressed by Mombert, reveals much more. In the case of an employee of a university, it may indicate that he is an instructor in rank. Superficially considered, one instructor is the equal of every other. As has been shown, there are writers who build their theory of the social class structure on this premise. Observation demonstrates, however, that the theory of equal social status for equal professional rank cannot be applied with satisfaction to cases one confronts day after day.
15. C. Bouglé, Qu'est-ce que la sociologie? (Paris, 1932) p. 128; translation ours.
16. Marshall, op. cit., p. 63
17. Gunnar Landtman, The Origin of the Inequality of the Social Classes (Chicago, 1938) p. 79.
18. Pontus E. Fahlbeck, Die Klassen und die Gesellschaft (Jena, 1922) p. 230; translation ours.
19. J. Nothaas, Social Ascent and Descent in Germany, tr. S. Ellison (New York) p. 32
20. Henry Pratt Fairchild, General Sociology (New York, 1934) p. 740.
21. Bouglé, op. cit., p. 129; translation ours.