Power In Sociology Essays

Power In Sociology Essays-18
According to Steven Lukes (2005), power has three dimensions or faces: (1) decision-making, (2) non-decision-making, and (3) shaping desires.For some social theorists, especially those linked to postmodernism, the very notion of large-scale macro structures of power has come under serious attack.Thus, it is of fundamental importance for the sociology to study in its manifold ramifications.

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Disciplinary power operates at the expense of individual freedom and choice.

In his opinion, notions like ‘ruling class domination’ simply obscure the micro-realities of power.

According to Max Weber (1947), power is ‘the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance, regardless of the basis on which this probability rests’.

He further writes, positions of power can ’emerge from social relations in drawing room as well as in the market, from the rostrum of lecture hall as well as the command post of a regiment, from an erotic or charitable relationship as well as from scholarly discussion or athletics’.

The focal point of the study of political institutions is power and its uses.

Although we think of the concept of power as being associated particularly with politics or so as to say political science, but it is, in fact, exists in all types of social relationships.Max Weber (1958) believed that there are three (not one) independent and equally important orders of power as under.For Marx, economic power is the basis of all power, including political power.In the very simple language, power is the ability to get one’s way—even if it is based on bluff.It is the ability to exercise one’s will over others or, in other words, power is the ability of individuals or groups to make their own interests or concerns count, even when others resist. Force is the actual or threatened use of coercion to impose one’s will on others.For example, Foucault’s conception of power demands that we should approach it in a micro way, seeing power in all social relationships, and working in specific ways in all kinds of particular institutional settings—whether the prison or the clinic.For Foucault, we must explore the intimate relationship between power and knowledge.To summarize, it may be said that ‘power is the ability of groups or individuals to assert themselves—sometimes, but not always—in opposition to the desires of others’.Many decisions are made without opposition because of the great power decision-makers wield.In their study they take note of power as an important element that influences social behaviour.Sociologists are today concerned to analyse the diverse nature of power and that complexities it creates in human relationships, especially between state and society.


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