socio theory sem 2 - Sociology 2S06 January 5th...

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Sociology 2S06 – January 5 th 2016 (Lecture #1 of Winter Term) Some review from last term - Talked about critique of structural functionalism and the Marxian influenced theories (Mills and darenforf) - Growth in 60s and debate in the 90s (whether we still need neo marxian theory) The theoretical Ideas of mills A) Theoretical Orientation 1. Reaction to structural functionalism 2. Adoption of Marxian Ideas B) The Power Elite – Book Mills wrote 1. Definition o According to Mills the “power elite” is an interlocking set of people who control dominate institutions in American society 2. Key Aspects of the Power Elite o Institutions à according to mills the Power Elite is made up of people who control the economic order, the military order and the political order § Argued that the economic and military orders are in the strongest positions § Argued that the political order was in the weakest § He wrote that “the power elite has been shaped by the coincidence of interest between those who control the major means of production and those who control the newly enlarged means of violence” § He also referred to “permanent war economy” à he wrote in the 1950s and in the 50s the cold war happened (US vs USSR), always the threat of a new war happening. The US was trying to build up its military superiority of the US in relation to the USSR § “a military-industrial complex” we still have this close association between the military and economic order à we have private corporations (General Electric etc) that make substantial profits from defense contracts whereby they make the weapons and equipment that is used by the American military o Members à People who controlled those three dominant institutions à Mills argued that these people shared certain characteristics § were men § were from upper income occupation groups (rich) § born in the United States as were their parents § were mostly from the eastern half of the US § were mainly protestants § were largely graduates of prestigious universities or military academics
§ were interconnected (through schools, clubs, churches, inter- marriage etc) § although mills was a leftist (left of centre) he was still very much affected by the patriarchal ideas that existed in that time in the 1950s § the exclusion of women from power was so taken for granted that mills did not even mention it or make an issue out of it. Despite the fact that he was a leftist, he was not critical enough about how women did not have the power in society § women were largely excluded from the power elite and if we look at the composition of what he calls the power elite we can see that only a small number of women hold positions within economic, military and political institutions (they usually are not holding positions that are up high in those institutions) 3. The Power Elite in relation to Marx’s Views o Like Darendorf Mills deviated from Marx’s ideas and we need to look at what he is suggesting is different

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