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Outline and assess the view that the exercise of power inevitably involves negative consequences for some individuals.

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Introduction

Outline and assess the view that the exercise of power inevitably involves negative consequences for some individuals. Many sociologists have different views of power and Marxists have a negative view of power and believe that power has consequences for some individuals. However, functionalists believe that power has positive consequences for some individuals. Also other sociologists see it both ways and believe that power has positive and negative consequences for individuals. Weber is a sociologist who sees it both ways. Weber believes in the Zero-sum view of power which implies that the exercise of power has negative consequences for some individuals and groups as it involves repression, coercion and constraint. An example of this would be when a police officer arrests a criminal. He also believed that power can be split into three type of authority which are: Charisma, Tradition and Rational-legal. Weber's types of authority are 'ideal types.' it means that they are pure but not the best. So the purest type is the ideal type. An example of this is that charismatic authority may contain aspects of traditional and rational-legal authority. ...read more.

Middle

Their conception of power sees it as a positive resource and, as such, is characterised by legitimacy and consensus. Talcott Parsons argues that power results from the sharing of collective resources. This is in order to achieve social and cultural goals. Functionalists also believe that power is a functional resource. Parsons' ideas about power focus on the traditional functionalist ideas of value consensus and normative harmony and stability. This Parsonian functionalist image of power can be compared to modern banking. Therefore politicians are like brokers or bankers, which means that they are allowed to borrow or invest the power that has been given to them by their subjects or citizens. Sociologist Anthony Giddens criticises the functionalist analyses of power. He suggests that power is a part of all social relations and interactions. However, for many feminists the study of politics starts not with institutions of parliament, parties and pressure groups, or even with society of elites and the ownership of wealth, but with differences of power at the personal level. This is summed up in their slogan 'the personal is political'. ...read more.

Conclusion

He believes that this power will impose definitions of 'normality' has become part of institutionalised life and may result in individuals being criticised, treated prejudicially and punished for being different, i.e. for indulging in behaviour or for holding attitudes that challenge the discourse. We avoid behaviour and attitudes that are likely to provoke even more surveillance and discipline from official agencies such as the police. His work has been criticised for not empirical in the conventional research sense. He tended to support his arguments with selective historical examples rather than updated examples and systematically gathering contemporary data. It is not entirely clear why disciplinary power and bio-power evolved or who exercises these types of power. It may be unrealistic to suggest that no group benefits more than others from exercising this type of power. Overall it can be said that there are many different views of power and Marxists believe that power can have negative consequences for some individuals and an example of this is when a police officer arresting a criminal. In my opinion I think that the statement is true because someone could take the power they have been given too seriously and that could have negative consequences. Laura Rogers 13.5 ...read more.

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