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Power and Family - Essay Example

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It is evident in a number of the works of certain sociologists such as Steven Lukes" Power: a radical view" where the three dimensions of power are discussed and evaluated.
This paper would review the role of power within a contemporary family setting and it would be so a number of levels -single parent setting, gay couples etc. The studies carried out by Michael Foucault and Max Weber provides key insight into the working and functionality of the family and the role of power as well.
Power can exist in different forms and the balance of the power in relationships can also vary. The sociologists examine the different ways that power plays a key role in the relationships in terms of the shifts in the balance etc. In most of the evaluations, it is done in those cases where the power in the relationships is either equal or almost equal.
Power is two sorts; primary and secondary. The primary force results in the direct use of force while the secondary use of power or rather coercion is used to define the use of threat by force and social constraint. Power can be held in different forms and ways such as delegated authority, social class, personal or group charisma, expertise, persuasion, fame, violence, operations of group dynamics etc.
According to Max Weber and his theory about power, there are certain groups such as classes, status groups which attempt to achieve what they desire even if they face opposition from others. It is argued by Weber that status honor is actually considered to be a more important source of social group action than even class etc and that is since status honor can be viewed in a number of ways and which work for the specific interests of the group only. Effectively, through this medium the power is exercised as well.
Power itself was defined as the chance that any individual can achieve even if met by opposing forces. Weber defined domination as "as the probability that certain specific commands (or all commands) will be obeyed by a given group of persons" (Weber, p. 212)"
In the context of a family set-up, there a re different ways through the dominance or power relationship can be gauged. It can be viewed in terms of the physical stretch that as the source of power or the use of threat in order to wield the authority. Whatever, the source, there are a number of ways through which power can be wielded and expressed as well.
In the case of a nuclear family set-up, in which there are parents and children involved, the sense of power and authority is usually expressed by the older set of the set up.
It can be evident through the voluntary compliance and obedience of the children. And if not voluntary, there is an interest involved in doing so as the parents after all have the key to the finances and in order the access, certain children given into the authority of their respective parents.
Another important aspect of power that comes across is the fact the obedience is not linked merely with a short term relationship but in fact is actually a sustained relationship of dominance and subordination which results in unequal treatment being met out. The same can be said for the ...Show more


This paper would be about the role that is played by power within the family structure and how it is used to define the operations of a family. If one was to simply define the word power itself, it could define the way control is used to organize the external environment and the settings…
Author : mike12
Power and Family
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