2005_10_26_sss - Power: Interpersonal, Organizational, and...

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Power: Interpersonal, Organizational, and Global Dimensions Wednesday, 26 October 2005 TOPIC: How do differentials in power arise? Lessons from social theory, continued. Continuation of Marx. .. Marx provided a theory of history and change and how society is organized – addressing the two central questions for all of social theory: What holds society together? How does it change? How does society, something that seems so disparate (so many different people, so many ways of living), hold together such that it seems to be coordinated, that we’re not at each other all the time, that we recognize what others are doing and what we are expected to do? (e.g. How do we know how to walk down the street? To pay for goods in stores rather than take them as we might from bookshelves and closets in our own home?) (We’re at each other sometimes – e.g. war, conflict and disputing, lawsuits.) Shared practices/habits/ambitions, being like each other hold people together. But how do things change if indeed we live within predictable, familiar patterns? Marx’s answer: Change takes place through class struggle. If we looked at history over time, there is a progressive increase in human competence/ability to master forces of nature and of production (ability to reproduce means of their own subsistence). Historical materialism is dialectic – we look at the economic structure to explain things but also know that it worked in two directions at once progressive = humans could increasingly control forces of production regressive = our ability to control nature was increasingly enslaving us Weber agrees! Our capacity for rational action provides both freedom and “an iron cage” (“slavery” for Marx) that we can’t escape. Weber means bureaucracy (the more complicated we make organizations, the more we can’t find our way through or out of them). Marx says human labor becomes more and more degraded/ alienated. Any society has within it characteristics that can be associated with more than one society (e.g. movement from feudalism to capitalism). p. 7 of packet – everybody below top capitalists has to sell their labor There are elements of different forms of social relations in the same mode of production. p. 8 of packet – Marx described relationship between bourgeoisie and proletariat – but today we have managers and supervisors and small employers etc. who think they are capitalists and 10/26/05, page 1 of 8
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support less market regulation – they have an ambiguous class position. Aside: Who owns company stock? 1929 stock market crash – those few who had the capital and lost it no longer could run businesses. There was the trickle-down effect and no one had employment. We then got government regulation (the SEC – Securities & Exchange Commission), e.g. regulated how stock could be traded on stock market. Up until 1929, it was an unregulated stock market – ownership of capital was distributed into little pieces (“shares”) and you could buy with 10% cash (“purchasing on margin”) because it was assumed that the
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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_26_sss - Power: Interpersonal, Organizational, and...

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