Differences between Estamental Society and Class Society

It should be noted that, during the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe, social hierarchies were organized based on the privileges that some possessed and that with the process of industrialization and the demographic explosion, a new form of social organization was given way. based on wealth. Thus, we are talking about the transition from estate society to class society, two forms of social organization that developed in Europe and whose characteristics will be described in this article as well as their specific differences.

estate society

The estate society is a system of social organization typical of feudalism, in which social groups were organized according to birth and privilege. As its name indicates, a class society is one organized on the basis of classes, which constituted closed groups that were accessed fundamentally by birth.

Each estate corresponded to a stratum or group defined by a common lifestyle, as well as by a certain social function. In the estate society, economic and legal inequality prevailed, since the legal situation of individuals was different, depending on the privileges that certain groups such as the clergy and nobility had. The bourgeoisie, the artisans, the peasants and the common people did not have access to these privileges.

Therefore, it was a stable and inert and almost immutable society, since there was no possibility of moving from one estate to another based on merit. Finally, the estate society was characteristic in Europe during the Middle Ages and lasted until the French Revolution.

class society

It can be said that class society is a system of social organization typical of capitalism, in which the social position of an individual is determined by ascribing to a particular social class. Thus, the social hierarchy is determined by income and the place that people occupy in the mode of production and, therefore, there is greater mobility and social permeability.

Class society emerged in Europe with the French Revolution, which gave way to an open and dynamic society, since it allowed mobility or social promotion based on merit and wealth. Thus, in class society there was legal equality, since benefits were determined by wealth and not by birth. However, economic inequality prevailed where an extremely rich minority and a very poor vast majority were appreciated.

Likewise, in the group of the favored (rich) were the nobility, the clergy and the bourgeoisie and in the group of the not favored (poor) were the workers and peasants. To conclude, in this new social order mobility between classes was allowed, therefore, it was considered a more variable and dynamic society.

Once the definitions of estate society and class society have been presented, the following differences can be pointed out:

Estate Society Class Society
It is a system of social organization typical of feudalism. It is a system of social organization typical of capitalism.
It is organized on the basis of estates that were accessed by birth. It is organized based on social classes that were accessed by wealth.
Economic and legal inequality prevailed. Economic inequality and legal equality prevailed.
It is a stable and inert society, since there is no possibility of moving from one estate to another. It is a variable and dynamic society that allows mobility between classes.

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