The understanding of the present society as a world of various power centers spread over a range of locations and the role of sociology to investigate the centers of power, which make some people empowered, and others helpless. Our lives' realities today are structured by class, gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexuality and disability and the power relation that result from these (Bauman 1990 and1992). The traditional understanding of society and its conflict was that it is the product of unequal distribution of authority. Those in power have a vested interest to stick to their privileges. Those who are ruled do like to change the distribution of power. This is the reason for the formation of classes (Daharendorf, 1957). The Marxist conflict theory, I felt is somewhat inadequate, and looking at distribution power in a wide areas of our society has been a valuable insight to me. The radical feminist theory criticizes the patriarchal structure of the society for the powerlessness of women. The conditioning to patriarchal habits makes most husbands sensitive to their authority and the institution of marriage instead of consummating a relation of equality turns out to be a dreaded experience of servitude. From the functional point of view a family should have been a unified interest group. Instead family relations are characterized by an unequal distribution of power, responsibilities and resources (Abbott and Wallace 1990).
I came into the course with a vague understanding of the term social exclusion. To me it meant only exclusion from work in a community. I had always thought that social exclusion could be addressed by merely providing work to people. The reading in this module made a drastic correction in my approach to quality of life. I was naturally inclined to think that by focusing on poverty I would be able to ensure quality of life. Now I realize that social exclusion by contrast is more related to social relations. It is only by correcting the social relations that people will be empowered to participate in the social affairs and attain adequate power to control the choices that affect them. (Pierson, 2002)
Though I was familiar with the term labeling, I never knew that labeling had such adverse effect in the development of a person. The insight on the negative impact of labeling is of unique value in the education of the children. Labeling results in placing people in slots based on prejudices. Labeling is not based on scientific evidence; it is based on opinions resulting from subjective perceptions of individuals. When the label is given people work their way to fulfil the label that they have received. This is a kind of self-fulfilling procphecy. Many significant studies suggest that official labels from a significant person impact on delinquent and deviant behavior response. Those who are not prone to antisocial behavior are often prompted to assume anti-social attitudes as a result of labeling (Cree 184).
The Peter-Maureen case is fine example of how power and powerlessness operates in a family environment. A mortgage on the house means the need to have regular income to own the house. Why is it in the first place Maureen did not go for any job that will bring her regular income She was not averse to work. She could easily get a job when it was absolutely needed her to work,