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What are the models of  social power in the United States?

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accge | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted June 3, 2013 at 3:03 PM via iOS

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What are the models of  social power in the United States?

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 4, 2013 at 7:54 PM (Answer #1)

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This is an excellent question. Let me start off with some social theory that might help you. 

First, all societies are socially constructed. This is why one society is different than another. Moreover, this is why some things are more plausible in one place and less so in another. For more information on this topic, read some Peter Berger. He is an excellent sociologist. 

Second, within this social construction, there are power structures. All societies have them. Moreover, those who created them and  those who know how to use them gain in power. In the United States, there are several social power structures. Some of these are obvious, such as education, wealth, social connections, and the like. Others are less obvious such as social etiquette, the way a person speaks, and even the way a person introduces himself or herself. All of these have social and therefore power dynamics. 

Third, those who are privy to these benefits are put at a great advantage. The person who has done the best work in this area is Pierre Bourdieu. He calls this knowledge, social capital, and he argues that those with social capital have a huge advantage in life.  

 

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