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Political Power And Social Theory

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Two key concepts in Sharp's theory of power are, first, the ruler-subject classification and, second, consent. The 'ruler' refers 'not only to chief executives but also ruling groups and all bodies in command of the State structure. All others besides the rulers are the subjects. Power supposedly resides in the person or position of a ruler or ruling body. However, power is pluralistic, residing with a variety of groups and in a diversity of locations, which Sharp calls 'loci of power'. Sharp reasons that since power does not belong solely to rulers, then it must come from somewhere else.

Sharp gives the following as key sources of power: authority, human resources, skills and knowledge, intangible factors, material resources and sanctions (Sharp, 1973). The basis for these sources of the ruler's power, accordingly ‘ depend intimately upon the obedience and cooperation of the subjects. ” This can be called the consent theory of power. It is explained that without the approval of the subjects, the ruler would have little power and little basis for the rule. These theories of power show hierarchies where not everyone is on the same level and there are divisions.

With one ruling, the other has to be ruled. With one excluding, the other has to be excluded. With exclusion comes discrimination, and in discrimination comes oppression. In the quest for power, race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability all come into play. Sinus (In Powell, 2006) has fairly explained this in his theory of social dominance. Social exclusion. Among the shifting terms used to understand personal and public rejection rather than the all-encompassing racism is social exclusion. Kilmurray (2006) claims social exclusion is a much more dynamic concept of the processes of social change.

To understand the offensive behavior of young adults nowadays, there is noted a shift to a focus on youth transitions into adulthood rather than focusing on the supposed childhood origins of offending.

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