Sociology Index

Ralf Gustav Dahrendorf

Among distinguished sociologists, Ralf Gustav Dahrendorf was a German-British sociologist. Dahrendorf’s contributed immensely to class theory and role theory. Darendorf’s major works include: Class and Class Conflict in an Industrial Society (1959); 'Conflict after Class' (1967); Society and Democracy in Germany (1967); The New Liberty (1975); Life Chances (1979).

Dahrendorf was a an expert on class divisions in modern society. Dahrendorf’s first detailed account of the problem of social inequality in modern societies, his most influential work on social inequality is Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society (1959). Darendorf’s argument is, neither structural functionalism nor Marxism alone provide an acceptable perspective on advanced society.

According to Dahrendorf structural functionalists paid little attention to the realities of social conflict and Marx defined class too narrowly, in a historically-specific context. Dahrendorf believes that traditional Marxism ignores consensus and integration in modern social structures. Dahrendorf thus combined both of these perspectives to develop his theory, class conflict in postcapitalist society.