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Today’s Agenda. DISCUSS WHAT IS POWER? DISCUSS WHO ARE THE POWERFUL? WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN WEALTH AND POWER? DEFINE POWER AS WE WILL USE IT. DISCUSS DIFFERENT THEORIES OF POWER. DISCUSS DISTRIBUTION OF POWER IN THE UNITED STATES. What is Power . Weber’s definition

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today s agenda
Today’s Agenda
  • DISCUSS WHAT IS POWER?
  • DISCUSS WHO ARE THE POWERFUL?
    • WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN WEALTH AND POWER?
  • DEFINE POWER AS WE WILL USE IT.
  • DISCUSS DIFFERENT THEORIES OF POWER.
  • DISCUSS DISTRIBUTION OF POWER IN THE UNITED STATES.
what is power
What is Power
  • Weber’s definition

The chance of men or a number of men to realize their desires in opposition to others who are participating in the action.

  • Power for Weber is the basis of the stratification system.
conditions for power blau
Conditions for PowerBlau
  • Cannot reciprocate with anything
  • no alternative supplier for desired resource
  • no power to force other(s) to give up the resource
  • can’t get along without the resource
our focus
Our focus
  • The state is the major power that the average citizen must contend with.
  • The power of the state and who controls it.
who are the powerful
Who are the powerful?
  • There is a connection between power and wealth
    • Old Rich
      • Family based wealth
      • Unique lifestyle
      • Sense of cohesion and the formation of community
    • New Rich
      • Self-made or recently acquired their wealth many through new industries (Hi-Tech Gurus)
      • Usually come from upper class
      • Engage in conspicuous consumption and leisure
  • Surest path to wealth is to be born into the privileges and resources of existing wealth. Usually handed down from generation to generation
      • No such reality to the myth of Horatio Alger
      • Leaders are chosen overwhelmingly from socially dominant groups and have been for many generations
elites versus masses
Elites versus Masses
  • ELITES
    • Groups whose members occupy the society's top positions of power. They exercise authority, influence, and control of resources within the society’s major organization.
      • Control ideas
      • Have influence through control of resources and authority positions and access to important networks.
  • Masses
    • Those who make-up the vast majority of the society’s populace. Those whose power is limited.
slide7

The Key Questions Then Are

What is the relationship between the elites and the masses?To what extent can the masses influence the elites?
theories of power
Theories of Power
  • Pluralist
  • Power Elite
  • Ruling Class
  • Structuralist Class Theory
pluralist theory of power
Pluralist Theory of Power

Society is composed of competing groups vying for power. No one group dominates all of the time. Balance is created by competition and coalitions

pluralist theory major elements
Pluralist TheoryMajor Elements
  • Power Is Shared
  • Groups Are Autonomous and Narrow Issue Oriented
  • No Permanent Power Structure
    • One Single Groups Dominates
    • Depends on the Issue
  • Average Citizen Influences Public Decisions by Joining Groups
  • Power Structure Is Balanced by Competition
variations on pluralist
Variations on Pluralist
  • Strategic Elites
    • Server as coordinating element
    • Managers of collective aims
    • Who are they:
      • Experts with knowledge
      • Society wide influence
      • Leaders from political, economic, military, cultural, and recreational fields
dahl s variation on pluralists
Dahl’s Variation on Pluralists
  • Corporate groups are more powerful than other groups
  • Need to increase pressure from citizens groups to reestablish balance
  • Does not acknowledge class related issues
  • Defends existing structure
power elite theory c wright mills
Power Elite TheoryC. Wright Mills

Power in modern society is centralized in power elite as a result of historical changes that made top three institutions so similar and powerful that coalesced their interest and might.

power elite major elements of theory
Power EliteMajor Elements of Theory
  • Comprised of top position holders in three institutions
    • military, political, corporate
  • power is result of position (not individual characteristics)
  • Elite tend to come from same background and interact socially
    • shared interests
  • Higher immorality result of structure
  • personality disintegration -> disintegration of middle class -> rise of Mass Society
    • dominated and manipulated by media and education
characteristics of a mass society
Characteristics of a Mass Society
  • Weakening of primary and local associations
  • More impersonal bureaucracy
  • Homogenizations of population and ideologies
  • Longer chains of authority in organizations (more reporting layers)
  • Personality disintegration
ruling class theory domhoff
Ruling Class TheoryDomhoff

There exists a small group with more than their share of power. There are important connections between economic and political institutions.

ruling class theory major elements
Ruling Class Theory Major Elements
  • Dominance of economic institutions
  • Conflict driven --> resistance by working class
  • Personal wealth is connected to economic and political power
  • Upper class rules through a power elite
    • Active members of the upper class
  • Wealthy dominate political process through
    • Special interest groups
    • Policy formation groups
    • Political candidate selection process
    • Ideological hegemony
structuralist theory of power
Structuralist Theory of Power

Structure of capitalism has developed in such a way that government must act to support capitalism in general. It is the structure of capitalism in which the government is embedded rather than individuals or positions that drives government policies to protect capitalists’ interest.

reasons for connection
Reasons for connection
  • Increasing number if workers raises possibility of rise in workers’ class consciousness.
    • Government must direct attention away from class issues to narrow economic issues
    • prevent class unity
  • Government takes on the task of regulating the labor force
    • education
    • restrictive welfare policies-> reserve labor pool
reasons for connection1
Reasons for connection
  • State need a certain amount of economic activity to survive. Needs money.
    • Good economy
    • Needs capitalists to invest in economy
    • Develop policies and regulations that encourage capitalists’ investments
  • State must ensure that smooth running of the economy for public support
    • As long is economy is good people don’t care who runs things.
  • Development of monopoly capitalism encourages intrusion by government
    • State develops an interest in capital accumulation
political participation
Political Participation
  • Types of Political Participation
  • Social Class
  • Gender and Race
  • Campaign Finance
  • Lobbying and Interest Groups
  • Politics and the Media
types of political participation and effectiveness marvin olsen 1982
Types of Political Participation and Effectiveness (Marvin Olsen, 1982)
  • Leaders (3% of population)
    • Political candidates or government officials
  • Activists (14%)
    • Lobby and campaign contributors
  • Communicators (13%)
    • Informed knowledgeable individuals that communicate
  • Citizens (30%)
    • vote
  • Marginals (18%)
    • No sustained participation but can be mobilized on occasions
  • Isolates (22%)
    • Rarely participate or are informed
who votes
Who votes
  • What is the relationship between age, race, class, and voting?
  • What can you conclude from the data?
women and politics
Women and Politics

Party Identification

The Media Connection

money and politics
Money and Politics

How Much Spent on Campaigns

Most expensive Races

The Big Picture