Development Sociology Essay

Development Sociology Essay - Charles Ma DSOC Writing...

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Charles Ma DSOC Writing Assignment #1 10/06/09 John Gaventa’s book Power and Powerlessness investigates the nature of power in the context of an Appalachian Valley. Gaventa observes that the industrialization of Appalachia had dramatic social effects on its residents, transforming an agrarian society to an industrial society. During this metamorphosis, there was a power shift from the farmers to an industrial corporation which moved in to mine coal. Gaventa’s scrutiny of the process of this change provides readers with an invaluable glimpse of the nature of power and its uncanny ability to manifest in any political situation. Yet, did his examination confirm or contradict the definition of power as the ability to realize will in the face of resistance? Does power within society reside with the group that controls the economic surplus? To answer these questions, it is essential to examine specific examples from Power and Powerlessness and relate them to the overarching definition of power. According to Gaventa, there are three dimensions of power: superior resources, “mobilization of biases” (21), and ingrained ideologies respectively. While each dimension is distinct, they are also interrelated as one may inexorably lead to another. Upon examining the first dimension, there seems to be an immediate connection with the second question stated previously, that social power is in fact derived from economic surplus. From the study of Appalachia, it is evident that there was a fundamental
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Development Sociology Essay - Charles Ma DSOC Writing...

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