Power in Society Essay
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A world of system designed to keep people in unjust and unequal positions is held in place by several interrelated expression of "power over": political power, economic power, physical force, and ideological power (Bishop, 1994: 36). So, we can say power is defined as a possession of control, authority or influence over others. In terms of power of dominant groups over subordinate groups, we define power as domination of one group of people over another in major important spheres of life. Power inequities have been in existence throughout the history of humanity and the ways of manifestation evolved from extreme overt oppression to subtle, covert oppression. Three major forms of power inequalities discussed in this paper are…show more content…
In Marx's time, workers lacked bargaining power through unions, legal strikes or sabotage (Grabb, 1997: 17). As a result, they could not form a united front against employers, and give themselves a power of collective resistance. In our society, we still can recognize basic elements of Marx's theory. Today, at the end of twentieth century, capitalism is still a strong and developed system that will most likely remain to be so for some time. One thing that has changed is that through the establishment of workers unions, the gap between bourgeoisie and workers has narrowed. The 8-hour work - 8-hour rest - 8-hour sleep system that Marx proposed seems to be in place in many of the countries around the world. Despite these accomplishments, the power over subordinate group still exist. Grabb argues that oppression on the class basis may seem absent in capitalist societies today, because workers are "legally free to choose whether or not to accept to work" for a capitalist (Grabb, 1997: 16). But, are workers really free to decide? In other terms, what are their options? For a worker who, by definition, does not own means of production, there is no other choice to earn a living than to sell his/her labour to the capitalist. Contrary to Marx's theory that
Essay/Term paper: Definition of "power"
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Definition of "Power"
Power is many things. It is the ability to control people in their
sayings and/or actions. It is the ability to get whatever you want. Power is a
necessary component in any society, otherwise all pandemonium would break loose;
leaders must be established. But, when taken to an extreme, power is not good,
and pandemonium will break loose.
As Lord Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts
absolutely." A good example of this is Adolph Hitler in Nazi Germany. He
believed he could not be stopped and that rules did not apply to him. By being
given absolute power, he corrupted the government. No attempt was made to stop
this by the Germans, because of the control he had. People were either scared
to stop this, or were brainwashed into believing it. Finally the U.S. had to
step in and try to stop Hitler, and World War II broke out.
But power is not all bad though. As was stated earlier, it is necessary
in any group of people, and there will be struggle to achieve it--be it a
country, a business, or a sports team. Athletics is a good example of where
there is a constant power struggle. In every league, every player wants control.
They want what they think should happen (during games), to happen. Recently,
in the NBA, Dennis Rodman took this struggle to an extreme. In disagreement with
an official's call, Rodman head-butted the official, and through a temper-
tantrum on his way off the court. Quite obviously, this is bad. Every player
in the league agrees to the rules set by the NBA from the beginning. The rules
are made to keep control, and the officials have power to enforce these rules.
If there were no regulations, players would be doing whatever they wanted
whenever they wanted. If Rodman's antics would have taken place somewhere other
than a basketball court he probably would be in trouble with the law. If he
were to argue with a police officer, for example, the same way he did with the
referee, he probably would be put in jail or at very least heavily fined. Well,
the NBA is not going to put anyone in jail for this, but they did fine him and
suspend him for a couple of games. Basically Rodman is as bad as any street
bully who picks on or beats up little kids. Only he does it on a basketball
court, so generally it is considered "part of the game." In nine out of ten
cases, a fine is levied, and all is forgotten.
There will always be people, like Rodman, trying to have power over a
situation when they can't. Any criminal is trying to do exactly that. They are
trying to make their own rules. When caught for this, they're punished; they
are punished by people who have power.
Power is obtained in a couple ways. You can earn it and it can be given
to you. But power isn't necessarily a trait a person has until they know
somebody who does. For example, if a person was good friends with someone who
is in a position of power, say their boss, and disliked a co-worker of theirs,
they possibly could get something bad to happen to the co-worker, like more work
or longer hours. Power wasn't had in a situation like this until someone known
While power is something that can be good or bad, liked or disliked, one
thing is for sure: it is constantly being put to use to control people. And
when there is no power, there is no organization and everything is bedlam. So
every person is in one way or another involved with power. Some have it, but
all must abide by it or reap the repercussions.
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