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Domhoff’s research helped to popularize the concept of the power elite. His theories describe the members of the power elite maintaining their position by collectively following the same social patterns, such as vacationing at a handful of destinations, joining elite clubs, and attending select schools. He also pointed out that the existence of a power elite stands in contrast to an important American ideal: that all Americans have a voice in their government. Domhoff acknowledges that all Americans can potentially exert political influence, but he asserts that our current social and political systems make it easier for the wealthiest citizens to shape policy.

Conflict theory in action

A formation of airplanes featuring fighter jets and a stealth bomber is shown in the sky.
Although military technology has evolved considerably over the course of history, the fundamental causes of conflict among nations remain essentially the same. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Even before there were modern nation-states, political conflicts arose among competing societies or factions of people. Vikings attacked continental European tribes in search of loot, and, later, European explorers landed on foreign shores to claim the resources of indigenous groups. Conflicts also arose among competing groups within individual sovereignties, as evidenced by the bloody French Revolution. Nearly all conflicts in the past and present, however, are spurred by basic desires: the drive to protect or gain territory and wealth, and the need to preserve liberty and autonomy.

According to sociologist and philosopher Karl Marx, such conflicts are necessary, albeit ugly, steps toward a more egalitarian society. Marx saw a historical pattern in which revolutionaries toppled elite power structures, after which wealth and authority were more evenly dispersed among the population, and the overall social order advances. In this pattern of change through conflict, people tend to gain greater personal freedom and economic stability (1848).

Modern-day life is not without a multitude of political conflicts: discontents in Egypt overthrow dictator Hosni Mubarak, disenchanted American Tea Partiers call for government realignment, and Occupy Wall Street protesters decry corporate greed. Indeed, the study of any given conflict offers a window of insight into the social structure of its surrounding culture, as well as insight into the larger human condition

Many current American conflicts are concentrated internally. The United States the government, for instance, has almost shut down because Republicans and Democrats could not agree on budget issues. This conflict continues to be at the center of American politics. Similarly, over the last few years the philosophical differences between the Democratic and Republican parties have remained on the forefront. Frustration with the traditional two-party system helped to spawn the formation of the Tea Party, a grassroots movement with a strong conservative and libertarian bent.

A painting of the Boston Tea Party.
What symbols of the Boston Tea Party are represented in this painting? How might a symbolic interactionist explain the way the modern-day Tea Party has reclaimed and repurposed these symbolic meanings? (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Symbolic interactionism

Other sociologists study government and power by relying on the framework of symbolic interactionism, which is grounded in the works of Max Weber and George H. Mead.

Symbolic interactionism, as it pertains to government, focuses its attention on figures, emblems, or individuals that represent power and authority. Many diverse entities in larger society can be considered symbolic: trees, doves, wedding rings. Images that represent the power and authority of the United States include the White House, the eagle, and the American flag. The Seal of the President of the United States, along with the office in general incites respect and reverence in many Americans.

Symbolic interactionists are not interested in large structures such as the government. As micro-sociologists, they are more interested in the face-to-face aspects of politics. In reality, much of politics consists of face-to-face backroom meetings and lobbyist efforts. What the public often sees is the front porch of politics that is sanitized by the media through gatekeeping.

Symbolic interactionists are most interested in the interaction between these small groups who make decisions, or in the case of some recent congressional committees, demonstrate the inability to make any decisions at all. The heart of politics is the result of interaction between individuals and small groups over periods of time. These meetings produce new meanings and perspectives that individuals use to make sure there are future interactions.

Summary

Sociologists use frameworks to gain perspective on data and observations related to the study of power and government. Durkheim’s functionalism suggests that societal power and structure is predicated on cooperation, interdependence, and shared goals or values. Conflict theory, rooted in Marxism, asserts that societal structures are the result of social groups competing for wealth and influence. Symbolic interactionism examines a smaller realm of sociological interest: the individual’s perception of symbols of power and their subsequent reaction to the face-to-face interactions of the political realm.

Short answer

What is one criticism of functionalism?

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Explain what is meant by the term power elite . Consider its original intention as coined by C. Wright Mills as well as your understanding of it your current everyday world.

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Further research

Functionalism is a complex philosophical theory that pertains to a variety of disciplines beyond sociology. Visit the entry devoted to this intriguing topic on Stanford University’s Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for a more comprehensive overview: (External Link)

The Tea Party is among the most high-profile grassroots organizations active in American politics today. What is its official platform? Examine the Tea Party website to find out more information at (External Link)

References

Domhoff, G. William. 2011. “Who Rules America?” Sociology Department at University of California, Santa Cruz. Retrieved January 23, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Marx, Karl. 1848. Manifesto of the Communist Party . Retrieved January 09, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Questions & Answers

any tip for igcse economics exam?pls
Stacey Reply
well
The
What is a market
Divine Reply
what are the variables that affect demand
Divine
what are the variables that affect demand
Divine
what are the variables that affect demand
Divine
what are the variables that affect demand
Divine
what are the variables that affect demand
Divine
price of the related goods 2 price of the given commodity 3 income of the consumer 4 taste and preference 5 expectation in the future price
John
pls the taste and preference
Nas
explain briefly
Nas
a consumer taste and preference commodity changes for a time the man becomes
John
sorry sorry
John
is when the price of a commodity becomes high and can't afford example Samsung instead of iPhone
John
consumers who have high intense for goods will purchase the goods even if the price of that commodity increases because he or she preferred that commodity.people will be prefer iphone as its price increase
Yussif
as usual bad taste of preference is when a consumer regrets from one commodity to another in terms of the price
John
thanks alot
Nas
you're welcome
John
#Preference; #Income #Test
Dereje
#price Of Commodity #Income #Taste #Preference
Dereje
#Market is The Place Where Buyers And Sellers Are Exchanging Their Goods And service. #
Dereje
difference between macro and micro economics
Lawrence
Microeconomic Study about individual consumers market But Macroeconomis Study General economic Process Such As #Aggregate Demand #Aggregate Supples #GDp= #GNp
Dereje
nice so can u run down a brife discussion on GDP
Lawrence
good
Chinex
pls can someone differentiate between the perfectly elastic, perfectly inelastic and unitary
yhar Reply
and then again pls what are the types of elasticity, the methods of calculating it thank u
yhar
Perfectly inelastic is when the coefficient is equal to zero Unitary is when the coefficient is equal to one But am not sure if we have perfectly inelastic
John
I'm kind off confuse abt the PED, IED and co are they the types of elasticity we've
yhar
Yh the types are price elasticity cross and income elasticity of demand
John
do we've specific formulaes to calculate for each of them
yhar
yes. PED. changes in quantity demanded divided by changes in price
Vealmurugan
so pls what's the general name given to unitary, elastic n inelastic ? are the names given to the final result after doing the calculations?
yhar
P2-P1÷P1×100or Q2-Q1×Q1×100 PED
John
***tutor2u.net/economics/reference/price-elasticity-of-demand
Vealmurugan
They are elasticity coefficient
John
@John I don't get u well pls
yhar
whichone
John
P2-P1÷P1×100or Q2-Q1×Q1×100 PED @john pls tis is what m talking abt
yhar
Yh is the formula for PED
John
Pls are you having a for PED
John
thank u very
yhar
dy
Jobang
what is economics
Tayyeb
economics is a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative use
John
is a science which study human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses
Divine
yes this is because economic provide a body of knowledge on human economic principles under theories and these theories can be verified with real world data using science method in other words it was scientific method in arriving at solution identification of problem or basic data collection among
John
unitary ElasticWhen Elasticty =1 Perfectily Elastic When 0<1 inelastic when 0>
Dereje
Pls is anyone having the NovDec questions?
John Reply
No
Emmanuel
what is micro economics
Rakesh Reply
What is PPF
Endam
Production Possibility Frontier
John
It refers to a curve or graph which shows the possible contributions of maximum alternative of commodity that can be produced in an economy
John
thanks
Endam
Thanks John talkx of defination pls
Endam
I don't get you
John
guys Any One With Novdec Questions 2019?
Diana Reply
what did Adam Smith introduce?
Sunday Reply
what is supply
Awunyo Reply
supply relationship shows that the higher the price, the higher the quantity supplied. 
SDADY
what are the dissadvantages of large scale production
Atanga Reply
depreciate of quality taste
Kosiso
Some of the Disadvantages are:- 1. Production not according to individual Tastes 2. Monopoly 3. Not Flexible 4. Over-Production 5. Heavy loss and Dislocation 6. Decline of Cottage and Small Scale Industries 7. Adverse Effect on Labourers 8. Unequal Distribution of Wealth
Asrar
And what can be the advantages too
Enow
1.adequate satisfaction 2.reduce importation
Yussif
Reduce importation how pls
Enow
the country will have enough products.this will reduce the level of government expenditure on imported goods especially
Yussif
Some of Advantage 1. Division of Labour 2. More Production 3. Use of machines 4. Low Cost of Production 5. Standard Goods 6. Advertisements and Salesmanship
Asrar
Some of its disadvantages are : (i) Less Supervision (ii) Individual tastes ignored (iii) Absence of Personal Element (iv) Possibility of depression (v) Dependence on Foreign Markets (vi) International complications and war (vii) Cut-throat Competition (viii) Less Adaptability
Kalu
what are the types of trade cycle
Kenny Reply
depression
DG
explain the following 1.supply 2.mobility of labour 3.why the demand slope downward from left to right
Theresa Reply
Mobility of labor is a the movement of labor (people) geographically or occupationally
Olotu
What is Supply
Kamodu Reply
Supply is quantity of a comodity which is presented in the market for sell on fixed price
Mahwish
Supply is quality of a goods the seller are willing to deliver at the particular price
Chinex
what is economy
Jacob Reply
Economy is defined as the efficient use of resources
Thomas
explain merits and demerit of economic
Portia
What is Unemployment?
Prince Reply
unemployment is a situation where an individual is easily and ready to render services but resources are not available.
Phelix
Unemployment refers to individual who are employable and seeking a job but are unable to find a job or doesn't have a job. To find the unemployment rate in a given economy, you must divide the unemployed people by the total number of employed people in the work force. Indicator of economy's status.
elkanah
unemployment is The level of joblessness in an economy, often measured as a percentage of the workforce. Unemployment was reported at 5.2% in May, up from 4.9% in April
ANNOR
Pls wat are the factors that influence unemployment
Olotu
just trying ⚠ factors that affect unemployment - the rate of imported inflation - interest rates - levels of investment
Wallace
unemployment is a situation where country labour Force who are active capable and are really searching for or willing to work at assistant wage rates but cannot find job
John
working age ppl who have no job for a period of time. there are different types of unemployment like structural, fictional, seasonal n etc. there is a formula to calculate it. n have factors causes this.
Vealmurugan
factors that influence on employment 1 high population growth growth as against low Industries growth rates 2 lack of skills or mass irritracy 3 government policies such as minimum wage trade liberalization and high taxation 4 initial capital requirements
John
I'm an economics student, what I do now will make my life a success,
mostafiz
Thank you
Tantoh
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Leta
what is difference between economic growth and economic development?( I want unique &brief answer)?
Leta
unemployment is when legitimate labour Force are not engaged in the economy.
Lawrence
economic growth is the already settled growth of the economy and National income can be used in verification of that while economic development is the process of improvement in an economy
Lawrence
what is rational behavior
Aaron Reply
James what is nationalisation
Awunyo
Pick a famous politician, business leader, or celebrity who has been arrested recently. What crime did he or she allegedly commit? Who was the victim? Explain his or her actions from the point of view of one of the major sociological paradigms. What factors best explain how this person might be punished if convicted of the crime? Got questions? Get instant answers now!
Katelyn Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology course at grand river academy. OpenStax CNX. Jan 14, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11616/1.1
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