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Paradoxes of Power in Sociological Insight by Randall Collins

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Paradoxes of Power in Sociological Insight by Randall Collins It may be said that the institution of power has always been a prevalent force in our society. It is a large part of what holds society together; without it civilized society as we know it would not exist. The functions of power range from keeping crime at bay to the more commonplace aspects such as allowing patrons to be served in a restaurant. The notion of power is almost invisible until further analyzed; it is something that we perceive as being simple and therefore take for granted. Yet there are so many intricacies in regard to power that still remain to be seen. In Chapter Three of Sociological Insight by Randall Collins, the author…show more content…
Yet some forms of power are certainly more effective than others. The key to realizing power most effectively lies in the acknowledgement of occasional concession and knowing when to "giv(e) in on something less important" (74). For instance, once again consider the example of a mother and child. Assume that the child wants to go over to a friend's house to play, but he has promised his mother that he would do his chores that afternoon. The child begs his mother to let him go and play, assuring her that he will do his chores immediately upon arriving home. The mother concedes, and the child is happy. If we are to analyze this situation in terms of gains and losses, the mother has gained points with her son and has essentially suffered no loss-the chores will still be done, only a few hours later. Throughout the entire scenario, the mother's power is evident, both explicit and implicitly; the son does not forget that his mother has the ultimate say in what he does, and in letting her son go she has not only made him happy but is also asserting her power as a parent. In sum, the mother has most effectively realized her power by knowing when to sacrifice something that is of lesser importance while gaining more long-term benefits. Another way that power may be asserted is by the influences of certain situations, namely
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