Although power is a universal phenomenon in human activities and social relationship, there is no uniform conceptualization of this concept. Power implies the ability of an individual or a group to influence or change the behavior of other individuals or groups. Weber defines power as the chance of a man or a number of men to realize their own will in a communal action even against the resistance of others who are participating in the action. Power is an aspect of social relationships. An individual or a group does not hold power in isolation. They hold it in relation to others. To say that power is relational is also to imply it is behavioral. For if power consists in an inter-relationship between two actors. Then that inter relationship can only be understood in terms of one actor’s manifest behavior as affecting the manifest behavior of others. Further power is also situational. To know power one has necessarily to relate it to a specific situation or a specific role and an actor’s power in one particular situation or role may vary from that in another.

Authority and Legitimacy:

  1. The concept of authority in general terms implies the right to command. It is not to be identified with persuasion or influence. The expressions like the parental authority, authority of tradition, authoritative opinion, political authority, legal authority or the constitutional authority are familiar expressions and they clearly convey that authority is exercised more characteristically within a net work of clearly defined roles. It is exercised according to the established and well recognized pattern. Political authority specifies the governing authority and defines the manner the power is to be exercised. It determines the nature of relations between the government and the governed. The doctrine of legitimacy implies that the authority should be used according to well recognized and accepted pattern.
  2. The natural sequence of happenings following the usage or custom or the established procedure invests the authority with legitimacy. Command and obedience relationship is based on the assumed legitimacy in the exercise of authority. Force and coercion are not legitimate but these are used either to establish legitimacy or by the legitimate authority for legitimate purpose. The legitimate authority if it fails in its objective may be challenged and a revolutionary authority may come into being. In case the newly established authority may fail there may be the counter-revolution. The authority that may come into existence finally has to establish its legitimacy. It is therefore the foundation of all governmental power. The government can itself function only with the understanding that it has the power to function. At a given time the authority that has come into existence may not have the legitimacy but it shall have to secure such legitimacy as the society would recognize and as could secure to it the international recognition.

Marxian Theory of Power (Karl Marx):

Marx does not give a clear definition of power, for him, power means coercion. Marx views power to be held by a particular group in society at the expense of the rest of the society. According to him the source of power in society lies in economic infrastructure and those who own the modes of production i.e. the dominant group uses power to further its own interest and there by exploiting those who subject to power.

  1. Marx argues that although from time to time dominant classes do have to resort to naked force to maintain their power and supremacy, the absence of such obvious coercion should not be taken to signify an absence of exploitation, lack of naked oppression does not indicate lack of oppression and the lack of any need to force. Lack of naked oppression does not mean that domination is not taking place. It is only that the dominated are unaware of their condition, because of the effectiveness of the ideologies into which they have been socialized.
  2. How do such dominant idea, which hails the dominating power of the dominant class and the exploitation of the subordinate class, gain such general acceptance? Marxists argue that particular ideas come to prevail through various key agencies of socialisation. FOR EXAMPLE, institution like the family, education system and the mass media play a crucial role in the promoting generally held beliefs and values. For Marxists through these institutions of socialization the real character of class society is justified and thus it ensures social inequality and domination and thereby the acceptance of the power structure in the society. This is the key element in Marxist approach to the superstructure, a society’s noneconomic institutions and the ideas and beliefs they promote. The assumption is that they exist to prop up a class-based mode of production. Thus are power inequality in the economic infrastructure is reflected in the superstructure.
  3. Marxist theorist argue that institutions like education, state and mass media justify the stereotypical images of superiority and inferiority coinciding with class position. Thus in terms of Marxian theory “the relationship of dominance and subordination in the infrastructure is justified and legalized by the super structure”. FOR EXAMPLE, in capitalist society and the unequal relationship between employees and employers will be reflected and legitimated in the legal system. A range of legal status protect the rights of property owners and in particular their right to a disproportionate share of the wealth produced by their employees. Marxists argue that such an analysis of the relationship between the infrastructure and super structure tells in great deal about power in a class society. That means, FOR EXAMPLE, in capitalist society the infrastructure produce particular kind of state, education system, family structure etc. All institutions of super structure that reflect the domination of class structure reinforce the power and privilege of the ruling class in the society.
  4. Marx views power as to be held by a particular group (dominant class) in society at the expense of the rest of the society (subordinate class). This is a CONSTANT SUM CONCEPT OF POWER since a net gain in the power of the dominant group represents a net loss in the power of the next in society. The dominant group uses power to further its own interests and these interests are a direct conflict with the interests of their subject to its power.
  5. Thus for Marx the source of power in society lies in the economic infrastructure. The basis of dominance or power is the ownership of forces of production. The ruling class, those who own the forces of production uses power to exploit and oppress the subject class in all societies. The case of power to exploit others is defined by Marx as coercion. It is seen as an illegitimate use of power since it forces the subject class to submit to a situation which is against its interests.
  6. The only way to return power to the people is communal ownership of the forces of production. Since everyone will now share the same relationship to the forces of production, power will be shared by all members of society. Here Marx’s concepts of false consciousness and class-consciousness are of importance. When the exploited class realizes their exploited status and start recognizing themselves to belonging to the same class, there originates class consciousness among them. In their subjective views of themselves and their condition comes to match its objective reality.
  7. It is the emergence of a true class consciousness by a subordinate class that is the key which unlocks the revolution which over throws the existing power structure of the society to replace it with one which suits to the new economic arrangements.

Max Weber’s Theory on Power:

Max Weber deals power primarily in the context of society and state. Weber defines power as the probability that an actor will be able to realize his own objectives against opposition from others with whom he is in social relationship). This is a broad definition.

  1. His definition of domination (Authority) is more specific. It refers only to those cases of exercises of power where an actor obeys a specific command issued by another. In making the distinction between power and domination (authority) Weber put forward two types of solution to the problem of order. Power represents action likely to succeed even against the opposition and resistance of those to whom it is applied. This solution is typically found in warfare and class conflict, but it has the limitation of being unstable as long term source of order. Legitimate domination, by contrast, involves an element of voluntary compliance from those to whom it applied and therefore embraces the issue of meaningful action. Domination can be legitimized in terms of the appeal to the different principles, namely tradition, national legality as embodies in enacted law and charisma (Turner 1996).
  2. Weber’s concept of class, status and party along with his analysis of state and bureaucracy are the centre of his concept of power. Each grouping is focused around or oriented towards power as an independent point of conflict. Each represents an aspect of and a basis for power.
  3. Weber’s discussion of ‘class’, ‘status’ and ‘party’ are three dimensions of stratification in society, each of which conceptually separate from the others, and specifies that, on an empirical level, each may casually influence each of the others. Weber did not ignore economic sources of power, CLASS and considered these to be among the more important sources, especially in capitalism. But unlike Marx, he claimed that power did not emerge only from economic sources, and he certainly does not restrict power relationships to ownership or nonownership of the means of the production. Power can also emerge from STATUS OR PARTY (associations concerned with acquiring power) or can a also be pursued for its own sake. Among these different forms of power, there are cross-cutting influences and effects, so that power obtained in one of these spheres may lead to power or a change in situation in another sphere.
  4. For Weber class is an expression of economic order to be more precise it is determined by a person market situation. Here a class denotes an aggregate of individuals who share the same Market situation. So as per the identification of class situation with the market situation there could be as many class division as there are minute gradations of market (economic) position. But similar to Marx, Weber also argues that the ownership versus non-ownership of property is the most important basis of class division in a competitive market. Weber distinguishes two types of classes, positively privileged class who are the property owners and non-owners or commercial class. He also identifies middle class, a group that can be placed between these two. For him property or lack of property is the composed of the plurality of the class statuses between which an interchange of individuals on a personal basis or in the course of generation is readily possible typically observable. For Weber power is associated with property class in terms that they enjoy more status and privilege in the society. The acquisition classes are in a negatively privileged situation and they are workers of the various principal types. They are less powerful in the society. Social mobility is possible between different classes or strata in the society. But this movement is possible only to a limited extent according to Weber. He says moving into a wider range of position is blocked by power differentials between different classes (Crib)
  5. Weber considers both class and status group membership as basis of social power. But the formation of political party has more influence upon power in modern society. For Weber a party refers any voluntary association, which has the aim of securing directive control of an organization in order to implement certain definite policies within the organisation. Parties are organisation, rather than communities or groups, and they involve striving for a goal in a planned manner.
  6. Weber notes that classes are in the economic order, status groups in the social order, and parties in the sphere of power. In some senses, power is not a separate order, in that classes and status groups are concerned with power. The difference between PARTIES on the one hand, and STATUS GROUPS and CLASSES on the other, is in the level of analysis, Parties are organisation, whereas classes and status groups are groupings of people. If status groups of classes become well organized, they may form parties, or their parties may become the organizational wings of the class or status group. Trade unions, professional association, ethnic organizations, and religious institutions are examples. Parties represent power at the macro level. For Weber all three – class, status and party are sources of power. Thus his view on power is extensive cutting across economy, social and political parameters.
  7. When it comes to his perception of power at macro level, his concepts of power and domination are closely associated. He distinguishes between these types of domination: charismatic, traditional and legal rational. In CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP the basis of power is the charisma of the leader. The term charisma is applied to certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary individual personality and treated as endowed with supernatural or specifically exceptional powers and qualities. In TRADITIONAL DOMINATION the basis of power is age-old traditions. Patriarchalism is a good example of traditional domination. The basis of power in LEGAL-RATIONAL DOMINATION is legitimate law.

Talcott Parsons Theory of Power

Parsons regards power as something possessed by society as a whole. As such power is a generalized facility of resources in the society. It is the capacity to mobilize the resources of the society for the attainment of goals for which a general public commitment has been made. In this sense the amount of power in society is measured by the degree to which collective goals are realized. Thus the greater efficiency of a social system for achieving the goals defined by its members, the more power exists in society. This view is known as variable sum concept of power (different from Weberian and Marxian constant sum concept of power), since power in society is not seen as fixed as contrast. Instead it is
variable in the sense it can increase or decrease.

  1. Parsons view of power is developed from his general theory of the nature of society. He believes that order, stability and cooperation in society are based on value consensus, that is a general agreement by members of society concerning what is good and worthwhile. He assumes that this value consensus is essential for the survival of social system. From shared values desire the collective goals, that is goals shared by members of society. For example if materialism is a major value of the Western Industrial society, collective goals such as economic expansion and higher living standards can be seem to these goals, the greater the power that resides in the social system. Steadily rising living standards and economic growth are therefore the indications of an increase of power for the society as a whole.
  2. Parson view of power differential within society also derives from his general theory of social system. He argues since goals are shared by all members of society, power will generally be used in the furtherance of collective goals. Thus, for Parsons, power is an integrative face in social system just as social stratification. Parsons argues that as value consensus is an essential component of all societies, if follows that some form of stratification results from the ranking of individuals in terms of society, values will be ranked highly and accorded high prestige and power sicken they exemplify and personify common values. And Parsons, a functionalist, believes that this differential distribution of power and prestige among the different strata of society is just, right and proper since they are basically an expression of shared values.
  3. Parsons views relationship between the social groups in a society as one of cooperation and interdependence rather than conflict and confrontation. Particularly in complex industrial societies different groups specialize in particular activities. As no one group is self sufficient it cannot meet the needs of its members and hence each group enter interaction with other groups for exchange of goods and services which makes the relationship between different social groups one of reciprocity. This relationship extends top the strata in a stratification system. In individual societies, which exhibit highly specialized division of labour some members, will specialize in organization and planning (those who govern), others will follow their directions (those who governed). Parsons argues that this inevitably lead to inequality in terms of power and prestige.
  4. Parsons’ later work on power involved a conscious modification of his previous views (Giddens 1995). In his later works criticizing C.W. Mills’ power theory Parson viewed power as generated by social system in much the same as wealth was generated in this productive organization economy. The parallels, which Parsons developed between power and money, were based upon the supposition that each had similar role in the two of the four functional subsystems of the socials systems evolved by Parsons.
  5. Power for Parsons is a direct derivative of authority. Authority for him is institutionalized legitimation which underlay power and was defined as the institutionalization of the rights of leaders to expect support from the members of the collectivity (Parsons 1960). By speaking of binding obligation, Parsons deliberately brought legitimation into the very definition of power, so that for him there was no such thing as illegitimate power (Giddens 1995).
  6. Parsons argues that inequalities of power are based on shared values. Power is legitimate authority in that members of society as a whole generally accept it as just and proper. Parsons views power and prestige differentials associated with social stratification is both inevitable and functional for the society. It is inevitable because it derives from shared values, which are necessary part of all social system. It is functional because it serves to integrate various social groups.
  7. Parsons stressed that the use of power is only one among several different ways in which one party might secure the compliance of another to a desired course of action. Parsons says compliance can be secured by applying positive (rewards) or negative (coercion) sanction. But in most cases when power was being used, there was no overt sanction (either positive or negative) employed. Parsons argues it was particularly necessary to stress that possession and use of power should not be identified directly with use of force.

Other Theoretical Models on State and Power:

The state and power, both concepts essential are contested concepts. There are a number of sociological theories/models of state and power each offering different accounts of its origin, development and impact. Liberal theory, plural theory, elite, theory, neo-Marxist and anarchist theory are some of the theories explained here in brief.

  1. The liberal theory of power dates back to the writings of the social contract theorists such as Hobbes and Locke. These thinkers argued that the society had risen out of voluntary agreement, or a social contract, made by individuals who recognized that only the establishment of sovereign power could safeguard them from the insecurity, disorder or brutality of the ‘state of nature’. Here state is a neutral arbiter amongst competing groups and individuals in society capable of protecting each citizen from the encroachment of his or her fellow citizens. The state is therefore a neutral entity, acting in the interests of all representing what can be called the ‘common good’ or ‘public interest’.
  2. The liberal theory has been elaborated by modern writers into a pluralist theory of state. Pluralist theory argues that political power is dispersed amongst a wide variety of social groups rather than an elite of ruling class. It is decentralized, widely shared, diffused and fragmented deriving from many source, Arnold Rose, Peter Bentley, Robert Dahl, Talcott Parsons, Neil Smelser are some of the key pluralist theorists. Robert Dahl, an advocate of this theory who termed rule by many as ‘oligarchy’. According to pluralist perspective be competition between two or more political parties is an essential feature of representative government.
  3. According to pluralists interest groups and pressure groups representing various interest play a major role in affecting the decision making process of state. Pluralists believe that a rough equality exists amongst organized groups and interests in that each enjoys some measure of access to government and government is prepared to listen impartially to all. They claim that competition for office between political parties provides the electorate with an opportunity to select its leaders and a means of influencing government policy. Pluralist theory explains the origin of liberal democratic state. For pluralists, state represents institutionalized power, an authority and it is in the supreme guardian of representative democracy in the modern society.
  4. The primary task of state is to balance interests of a multitude of competing groups, represents interests of society as a whole and coordinating other major institutions. They vies the state itself as a set of competing and conflicting institutions rather than a monolithic entity which exerts its power over the rest of the society (Smith 1995). They argue that power exists only in situations of observable conflict and that people’s interests are simply what these overt preferences reveal.
  5. The elite theory of power argues that all societies are divided into two main groups the ruling and the ruled. The classical elite theorists such as Vilfredo Pareto (Italian thinker) Gaetano Mosca and Robert Michels argued that the political power always lies in the hands of small elite and the egalitarian ideas such as socialism (Marxist theory) and democracy (pluralist theory) are a myth.

Pareto is highly impressed by Italian social system. On this basis Pareto has presented the following outline of social system. Social system is made up of 2 kinds of people:

  1. Elite class (Governing class ruling class)
  2. Non-elites (Mass-ruled class)

Governing class is made up of two groups:

  1. Residues of combination
  2. Residues of Group Persistence

People of first group work on the principle of maximum gains and so are very selfish. They want to bring substantial change in the system, for which they easily mix up with the people. The second group puts lot of thrust on stability in the system. They are idealistic, therefore neither they are selfish nor believe in the immediate gain. Unlike first group, they are more contained and so do no easily mix up with people.

They could be better understood under political, economic and idealistic aspects.

Screenshot 1944 05 19 at 00.11.13

The political aspect of first group is Fox because they are equally clever and manipulative and diplomatic, whereas that of the second group is Lion, a symbol of stability and idealism. The power rotates between the two, which Pareto called ‘circulation of Elites’.

Pareto places particular emphasis on psychological characteristics as the basis of elite rule. Major change in society occurs when one elite replaces another, a process which Pareto calls “circulation of elites” and he believes history is a never-ending circulation elites. For him state is a tool in the hands of the ruling elite. He saw modern democracies as merely another form of elite domination.

Gaetano Mosca believed that rule by a minority is an inevitable feature of social life. He claims that in all societies two classes of people appear a class that ruled. The first class, always the less numerous, performs all political functions and monopolises power and the advantages that power brings, whereas the second, there numerous class is directed and controlled by the first. He viewed that there are important differences between democracies and other forms of rule. By comparison with close systems such as caste and feudal societies the ruling elite in democratic societies is open. There is, therefore, a great possibility of an elite drawn from a wide range of social background. As a result the interests of various social groups may be represented in the decisions taken by the elites. The majority may therefore have some control over the government of society.

Theory of Power Elite:

C. Wright Mills explains elite rule (Theory of Power Elite) in institutional terms.

Screenshot 1944 05 19 at 00.14.18

Mills explains elite rule in institutional rather than psychological terms. He rejected the view that members of the elite have superior qualities of the population. Instead he argues that the structure of institutions is such that those at the top of the institutional hierarchy largely monopolize power………….. Certain institutions occupy key ‘pivotal positions’ in society and the elite comprise those who hold ‘command posts’ in those institutions. Mills identifies three key institutions: Those who occupy the command posts in these institutions from three elites. In practice, however, the interests and activities of the elites are sufficiently similar and interconnected to form a single ruling minority which Mills claims that ‘American capitalism is now in considerable part military capitalism’. Thus as tanks, guns and missiles pour from the factories, the interests of both the economic and military elites are served. In the same way Mills argues that business and government ‘cannot now be been as two distinct worlds’. He refers to political power is a powers elite which dominates American society and takes all decisions of major national and international importance.

However, things were not always thus. ………….The power elite owes its dominance to a change in the ‘institutional landscape’. In the nineteenth century economic power was fragmented among a multitude of small businesses. By the 1950s, it was concentrated in the hands of a few hundred giant corporations ‘which together hold the keys to economic decision’…………… Political power was similarly fragmented and localized and, in particular, state legislatures had considerable independence in the face of a weak central government. The federal government eroded the autonomy of the states and political power became increasingly decentralized…………. The growing threat of international conflicts has led to a vast increase in the size and power of the military. The local, state controlled military have been replaced by a centrally directed military organization. There developments have led to a centralization of decision making power. As a result, power is increasingly concentrated in the hands of those in the command posts of the key
institutions.

The cohesiveness and unity of the power elite is strengthened by the similarity of the social background of its members and the interchange and overlapping of personnel between and three elites. Members are drawn largely from the upper strata of society: they are mainly protestant, native-born Americans, from urban areas in the eastern USA. They share similar educational backgrounds and mix socially in the same high-prestige clubs. As a result they tend to share similar values and sympathies which provide a basis for mutual trust and cooperation. Within the power elite there is frequent interchange of personnel between the three elites. For example, a corporation director may become a politician and vice versa. At any one time, individuals may have footholds in more than one elite. Mills notes that ‘on the boards of directions we find a heavy overlapping among the members of these several elites’. Thus a general may sit on the board of a large corporation. Similarity of social origin and the interchange and overlapping of personnel strengthens the unity of the power elite.

  1. Mills argues that American society is dominated by power elite of ‘unprecedented power and unaccountability’. He claims that momentous decisions such as American entry into World War II and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima were made by the power elite with little or no reference to the people. Despite the fact that such decisions affect all members of society, the power elite is not accountable for its actions either directly to the public or to any body-which represents the public interest. The rise of the power elite has led to ‘the decline of politics as a genuine and public debate of alternative decisions’.
  2. Mills sees no real differences between the two major political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, and therefore the public are not provided with a choice of alternative policies. The bulk of the population is pictured as a passive and quiescent mass controlled by the power elite which subjects it to ‘instruments of psychic management and manipulation’. Excluded from the command posts of power the ‘man in the mass’ is told what to think, what to feel, what to do and what to hope for by mass media directed by the elite. Unconcerned with the major issues of the day, he is preoccupied with his personal world of work.
  3. Leisure, family and neighborhood. Free from popular control, the power elite pursue its own concerns power and selfaggrandizemeMill says that owing to importance of political reasons that Hiroshima, Nagasaki (Japan) was attacked with nuclear bomb and was completely devastated. However, Cambodia, Iraq and now Afghanistan are suffering from the autocratic tendency and activities of American power-elite. Viewing their nature of this kind Mills predicted that whenever there happens a third world war, they would be responsible for it. Mills further opines that in internal matters the power elite is not committed to the mass. It means if their policies favour the mass, it is merely incidental. That is why American mass is always unhappy with governmental procedures.
  4. Robert Dahl criticized Mills that his statements are only suggestive and not conclusive. According to Dahl, Mills has emphasized only on one aspect of power-elite whereas their second aspect is equally important that they work for the welfare of the mass with full commitment. It is not appropriate here to assume that power elite possesses the complete control. In this reference only Dahl has talked about plural interest groups who get the policies turned in favour of the mass.
  5. Mills’ conclusions about the nature and distribution of power on the national level are largely echoed in an investigation of power on the local level by Floyd Hunter, Community Power Structure is a study of a large southern city in the USA given the pseudonym of ‘Regional City’ but generally believed to be Atlanta, Georgia. Hunter claims that power rests in a small decision making group which is dominated by ‘the businessmen’s small decision making group which is dominated by ‘the businessmen’s class’. This primarily economic elite rules by ‘persuasion, intimidation, coercion and if necessary force’. Through its finance of local political parties, it directly influence who is elected and largely controls local politicians from the state governor on down. With its power to regulate finance, the economic elite can control the granting of mortgages and level to influence decisions in its favour. Hunter examine a number of important local policy decisions including urban renewal and a sales tax. He claims that the economic elite formulated policy on these issues which was then translated into legislation by the politicians.

Iron law of oligarchy:

Michels took the concentration of power in the hands of elite to be a necessary outcome of complex organizations. His famous ‘iron law of oligarchy states that, in modern societies, parties need to be highly organized and so inevitably become oligarchic, being hierarchically run by party leaders and bureaucracy such that the bulk of members are excluded from decision-making.

  1. Neo-MarxistsTheories: The classical Marxists stressed the coercive role of the state. But neoMarxists took account of the apparent legitimacy of the bourgeoisie state particularly in the light of the achievement of universal suffrage and the development of the welfare state. According to Antonio Gramsci , in the modern conditions it is the political party, which forms the state. He was an advocate of arbiter theory of state. He emphasized that the degree to which the domination of the ruling class is achieved not only by open coercion but is also elicited by consent. He argued that ideological and political superstructures are relatively autonomous of the superstructure. He believed that bourgeoisie had established hegemony, ideological leadership or domination, over the proletariat and insisted that the state played an important role in this process. By hegemony, a key term propounded by Gramsci, he meant the way in which the dominant class gains consent for its rule through compromises and alliances with some class fractions and the disorganization of others, and also the way in which it maintains that rule is a stable social formation. According to him hegemony is gained in the first place in civil society where ideology is embodied in communal forms of the life in such a way that it becomes the taken for granted common sense of the people. For him all relations of civil society involve issues of power and struggle, not just class relations.
  2. The French Marxists Louis Althusser gives a functionalist interpretation to the Marxian conception of state. Although he viewed the state as relatively autonomous of the economic base, for him the state is fully implicated in the logic of capitalism where it functions to reproduce the mode of production. He adds, since the capitalist mode of production requires the state to reproduce its conditions of existence, there is a reciprocal determination between the economic and political levels (Althusser 1971)
  3. Although the neo-Marxist theory echoes liberalism in seeing the state as an arbiter is nevertheless emphasizes the class character of the modern state by pointing out that it operates in the longer term interests of capitalism and therefore perpetuate a system of unequal class power.
  4. Anarchists condemned the state power and they believed that the state and all forms of political authority are both evil and unnecessary. They view the state as concentrated form of oppression; it reflects nothing more than the desire of those in power often loosely referred to as a ruling class, to subordinate others for their own benefits.

Relevance of these Theories:

Marx and Parsons both have tried to interpret power in specific situations and so tended to be more extreme in their course. Generally people do neither use the power only in self interest to create conflict or for only welfare of the mass. However, the power is used for both the things together. Therefore, both Marx and Parsons are not completely universally relevant in this aspect.

In the context of constant and variable sum of power:

These two seemingly opposite concepts are given by Karl Marx and T. Parsons respectively. Both of them have their own view points, therefore, none of them could be said to be irrelevant. Parsons views it in the context of power-holder only and so its growth proves the concept of ‘variable sum of power’ whereas Marx sees it as a relation between haves and have-nots and finds it to be constant forever.

Pareto’s:
  1. In the context of two opposite ideologies
  2. In the form of non-governing elites
  3. In the form of multi-party system
Mills’:

The relevance of Mills’ power-elite is clearly visible at international level, which is not only seen in the political relations of other countries, but its affectivity is felt in the conventions of UNO, WTO, World Economic Forum, G-8, etc. However, it does not seem relevant completely at domestic level. This is corroborated by Dahl’s concept of plural interest group. Also at many issues the mass is highly appreciative of Federal govt.


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