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Social Institutions - Essay Example

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He states that during course of social interactions, people do gain control over the actions of one another. Dennis states that asymmetrical power relations are clearly evident when interactions amongst people having same level of social power are taken into account. In certain circumstances, a person “A” controls and determines the actions of the other person “B”. And likewise, in some other specific situations, B attains the position of the power-holder and A becomes the target of this power. As a matter of fact, the author opines that, this scenario is an indicator of presence of healthy social relations. (1) After that, Dennis focuses on differentiating between intercursive power and integral power. At this point, he says that the first-mentioned (intercursive power) is a typical feature of relations that display near-perfect equilibrium of power. Intercursive power can be seen in social interactions where, the power held by one person is same as the one wielded by another individual. This form of power is best explained by throwing light on social relations, in which, all the related parties arrive at a collective decision that is best for their given objectives. In fact, intercursive power makes sure that none of the concerned parties can act in a way that jeopardizes the interests of the entire group. To put it in other words, this pattern (of power) is closer to norms of democracy. (1) On the other hand, integral power is nothing but almost limitless power being vested in the hands of a single group or person. The best example of this type of power is the power held by a state, in the contemporary society. At this juncture, Dennis emphasizes on the fact that, there are laws and authorities to ensure that entities with integral power do not go on to misuse the authority held by them. To elaborate further, things such as elections, provisions of impeachment, among others, play a vital role in controlling the person or group having integral power. (1) Here, it has to be candidly admitted that, precisely defining each and every form of social power is an onerous task. As a matter of fact, the act of conforming to persons with power is seen right from the early stages of human life. As an example, the child submits to the authority of their parents and in the process adheres to several norms of social behavior. Dennis H. Wrong also enumerates the fact that, when a person holding unhindered power uses it over the targets, they definitely get to see the effects desired by them. But in addition, the targets also display some behavioral patterns, which are not intended to be seen by the holder of power. (1) Lastly, the author speaks about the concepts of actual power and potential power. He argues that, actually controlling the actions of others by using power, and the capability of doing so are two different things altogether. Track record is the best means of assessing the extent to which a person or group possesses power to influence the behavior of others. Also, for the power wielded by a person to be a genuine one, it is imperative that even when they are not exercising it, the subjects must be behaving as if the power is actually being exhibited. This can be best explained by an appropriate example. Even when the parents are not in the vicinity, the child still continues to behave in a manner desired by them (parents), lest they incur their wrath. (1) Before concluding the article, the author does not fail to highlight a misconception that is held by a substantial ...Show more
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Summary

Social Institutions Introduction This paper attempts to summarize the following two articles: “Some Problems in Defining Social Power” written by Dennis H. Wrong and “The Crisis in Social and Institutional Integration” penned down by Bruce A. McDaniel…
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