2005_10_24_sss - Power Interpersonal Organizational and...

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Power: Interpersonal, Organizational, and Global Dimensions Monday, 24 October 2005 TOPIC: How do power differentials arise: Lessons from classical social theory, continued. review of last time: MAX WEBER Class, Status, and Party distinguishes different ways groups organize on basis of shared lifestyle (status), shared opportunities in market (class), to gain power explicitly (party) Weber explicitly defined power – Dennis Wrong and other analysts use and develop it Where do power differential come from? Weber gives no clear answers but argues that the bases of power may differ and vary on social context – may depend on class/status, historical circumstances – his was an empirical inquiry. In Class, Status, and Party, he encourages us to recognize that power may be sought for a variety of reasons – for enrichment, for own its sake, for symbolic reasons, for status. There are various bases of power and authority His recognition and description of increasing rationalization of human action suggests that the bases of power may be increasingly located in expert knowledge, ability to understand and manipulate the processes of rationalization. KARL MARX (1818-1883) German, born to Jewish family that became Protestant in Trier, Rhineland, Germany, just east of Luxembourg upper middle class family but spent most of life as outcast from family and Germany Marx’s contributions to social science are enormous. It is difficult to overestimate the consequences of his work in relation to how we think of ourselves, our modern lives, and the present state of world economy, e.g. the resurgence of unregulated capitalism , which was the subject of Marx’s work. 1991 – with the dissolution of USSR, many Marxist scholars (not communists but those who thought that Marx had a persuasive account of social life) thought that Marxism was dead as an interpretive framework, showing how they were more ideological than sociological/theoretical. why should the USSR matter? Marx wrote an analysis of capitalism , not what the state should be like (that interpretation was Lenin’s doing) people called themselves Marxists but Marx himself didn’t give a blueprint for a new society Yet, suggest that they were quite wrong and the evidence is persuasive: example, 1992 – major program on national public TV celebrating 500 th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of America; presented a history of global trade routes that had been functioning in 13 th /14 th /15 th centuries; only after this several hour history was Columbus introduced– how he was engaged in looking for new markets for European goods. The standard Columbus account is now an economic account, not about tyranny or a search for freedom – he was employee of the Spanish crown and Italian merchants, a salesman – this was a Marxist account because Marx gives us an account of social relations driven by economics 10/24/05, page 1 of 9
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2005_10_24_sss - Power Interpersonal Organizational and...

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