What is Power in Sociology?

For centuries scholars from different discipline have explored and analysed power. Power relationship describes our world. For Macionis, politics is the social institution that distributes power, set social goals and make decision. In Weber’s opinion every society is based on power and power has the ability to achieve desired results despite resistance from others. Foucault expresses that power relation is present in all facet of social life. Power not only influence our personal relation but also moulds social groups, organizations and governments. Power is mainly used by the government.

Government is a formal organization that gives direction to the political life of the society. Although government demands compliance from its people, it does not openly use threat on its people. In most cases people respect and adhere to their political system. In contemporary world government power is not limited to its citizens but may extend to other governments or nations for instance U.S government.

Government as political institution maintains law and order and security of its people. Form of government and the way it functions depend on the accepted behaviour pattern of the society. Development and welfare is the major responsibility of the government today. To be effective and efficient the government may decentralize for example local self-government, Panchayat in India.

Power can be coercive that is not legitimate where force is used or it can be legitimate which is accepted and supported by the legal system i.e authority. According to Weber it is legitimacy that forms core of authority.

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