2005_10_17_sss - Power: Interpersonal, Organizational, and...

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Power: Interpersonal, Organizational, and Global Dimensions Monday, 17 October 2005 TOPIC: Classical theories of power. How do differentials in power arise? Review of last time: We are pursuing a more historical chronology of theories of power – our writers are regarded as forming the foundation of contemporary scholarship which often constitutes a discourse (e.g. elaboration, critique, rejection) with these writers. So far we’ve covered: Machiavelli (16 th century) and Hobbes (17 th century) Today: Pareto (19 th century) Central organizing question for discussion: Where do inequalities of power come from and how are they maintained? Each one of these authors would have a position on the question of whether these inequalities come from human nature or from the social organization. Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Pareto all argue that inequality comes from human nature, but each has slightly different account of human nature. Hobbes’ notion of power bound up with the institution of monarchy, with the British king – he was writing a justification for the absolute monarch, the metaphor he used, Leviathan . the king was Hobbes’ solution to what he observed as the problem of disorder at the heart of human societies, at the heart of human nature his famous statement: life was nasty, brutish, short unless we submitted to overarching power who would contain our self interests and desires relationship between sovereign and subject best depicted in the picture of the king made up of his individual citizens (to the right) the king as the sum of all the parts of all the individuals says that the sovereign is not his own self – Recall Simmel who said that to be a leader you must follow. The Leviathan is su of all people who have given all rights and property to him in return for protection m king exists only through his subjects – there can’t be a king without obedient subjects, but King cannot rule disobedient subject, needs allegiance and secures that allegiance by providing what subjects need - protection. Equally important each subject is clearly discernible in the body of the sovereign and is not swallowed up into an anonymous mass – each subject is a discrete individual. organizing principle: the identity where each citizen and the subject become one what is achieved through the social contract between individual and sovereign is the basis of 10/17/05, page 1 of 7
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politics – it is through the surrender/silencing of the individual’s own sovereignty over himself that is transformed into loyalty to the state – the conflict among the people is silenced as it goes through the body of the king Hobbes’ metaphor authorizes/legitimates/rationalizes the idea of a political community in which each person participates in the power of the whole what becomes marginalized are the questions that occupy us for next 300 years: how is the sovereign’s power organized and exercised? Hobbes doesn’t address this. Where Machiavelli was concerned with how power works, Hobbes is interested in authorizing
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course ANTHRO 2.158 taught by Professor Ericajames during the Spring '03 term at MIT.

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2005_10_17_sss - Power: Interpersonal, Organizational, and...

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