Social Science(What is patriarchy How might it operate within the contemporary family - Essay Example
Interestingly, power has as many different meanings as there are theoretical perspectives. Ferguson (2006) presented two main theorists in the power debate, namely Max Weber and Michel Foucault. Each of the two is in direct opposition to the other. Weber believed that â€˜power is hierarchical, that there are individuals in control and others who take instructions from those in their â€˜line of commandâ€™ (Fergusson and Hughes, 2006, pp.26). Obedience is not automatic, only where authority is perceived as legitimate authority would one be willing to comply with the commands.
Weber termed his concept of power as bureaucratic power where there is a central source of authority which others would comply to providing that the one in authority functions without prejudice. Notably no special knowledge or skill is required all that is needed is the â€˜institutional positionâ€™ (pp.31). Allen (2004) notes that the â€˜legitimate basis of patriarchal authority is notably different to Weberâ€™s bureaucratic authority. Weber, himself, presented two distinct differences in patriarchal domination and bureaucratic domination. Firstly, Weber notes that â€˜where bureaucratic domination is based on an officialâ€™s commitment to a sense of impersonal duty, the former relies upon the personal authority of the male head of the household.â€™ The male head of the family possesses authority based on â€˜natural and enduringâ€™ personal relations (pp.31). Thus, the second difference is that â€˜patriarchal authority is rooted in tradition passed down from one generation to the next and bolstered by filial bonds. The obedience of the wife and children to the male head is said to derive from dutiful conduct rather than from a set of rules established on an abstract, rational basisâ€™ (pp.31).
Foucault, on the other hand, viewed power as â€˜never in any one personâ€™s hands.â€™ Power is seen not as â€˜any obvious willed manner, but something within our psyche which
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