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Power Relations and Social Institutions Essay

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Updated: Mar 22nd, 2021

From the readings, it is evident that power relations are affected by social institutions in various ways. However, it is vital to understand the crucial roles played by the state when it comes to power contests and the desire to rule. The field of political sociological research has indeed attempted to define and explore the hidden aspects of new institutionalism. To understand the emerging trends in power politics, reputable scholars such as Theda Skocpol and Michael Mann have offered detailed social-political theories.

For instance, taking part in voluntary organizations, nationalism, and genocide can be best understood by paying a lot of attention to the elements of new institutionalism. Moreover, challenges to power can be affected by institutions. This implies that mobilization is a crucial factor that can either be hampered or enhanced depending on the political system in place.

To begin with, it is necessary to underscore the fact that power relations are affected by both cultural and social processes. However, it is not advisable to give a lot of prominence to such factors because the abilities of various groups of people can be misrepresented. It is only through political sociology that power contests in society can be understood. The state is the most critical institution and therefore, all facets of discussion should revolve around it. Power relationships in the modern political cycles are largely affected by the state.

In regards to institutions that affect power struggles, political sociologists have different perspectives. The characteristics and profile of the bureaucracy is also an interesting starting point when exploring the aspect of a power struggle in contemporary societies. The political insights are given by Weber assist in understanding the entire scenario.

Whenever there is a power contest, violence is inevitable. Although violence might be seen as an overreaction by the public towards political arrangements, it is important to understand that political instability is a technique used by the key political players to gain power. The citizenship regime as expounded by Jane Jenson is yet another clear indication that power politics are aggravated by party politics. As much as the state is a key player in power contests, we may not downplay the contribution of individual political parties within a liberal political system.

At this point, it is pertinent to mention the roles of liberal democracies in contemporary societies. Democratic governments are generally perceived by global citizens to be the best. From the readings, the author seems to be supporting the notion that social democratic governments are the best across the world. This is the same perspective held by some political science scholars. Nonetheless, we have witnessed intense human suffering even in states that are broadly considered to be democratic.

The Marxist’s view of capitalism explains why the so-called democratic systems are never democratic at all because citizens are economically disadvantaged. The best form of liberation required by the masses is economic well being. As long as capitalism continues to dominate our social systems, contemporary society will never be politically liberated.

Over-taxation is one of the ways through which global citizens have been adversely affected. Authentic democracy can only exist in a scenario whereby citizens are economically empowered. However, economic liberation may never happen shortly because empowered citizens cannot be easily manipulated by political parties and state machinery. In other words, the state and political parties enjoy a lot of power among impoverished populations.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Power Relations and Social Institutions'. 22 March.

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