Mod-01 Lec-09 State-III: The concept of power

Mod-01 Lec-09 State-III: The concept of power


So friends, we are discussing the institution
of a state. And the last time, I said that a state is that institution of society, which
has monopoly or violence. Actually, to understand violence, we have to go into the deeper concept
of power. Violence is a kind of power, but violence is not the only form of power. So,
today, in this lecture, I will first define the concept of power, as defined by Maxover,
and then relate power to a state, and also identify certain different types of the states.
After this, we will have a more general discussion on the state and civil society. I also wish
to introduce concepts like nation, ethnicity, so that we can clearly distinguish between
the state, nation, ethnicity and society, and properly examine the relationship between
them. So, first defining power; Maxover have been
repeating name of Maxover, Maxover is a, so, because I come from science background, so
I used to see that in mathematics, physics everywhere, there was something or the other
from Newton, Maxover is like that. Maxover, who has something or other to say on all aspects
of society, because Maxover not only developed a new method; when we are discussing what
is sociology, I said that, as supposed to positivistic and naturalistic method
of , Augustchrome, Herbert Dispanser, he developed
a new, just for call sake, analytical method, in which there is no subjectively and understanding
aspect. Maxover has given his own ideas, and he also
provided a critic on Marxist story. So, in sociology, he has both the contributions.
He develops a new kind of sociology, and he also provides a critic on Marxist sociology.
Maxover defines power in the following manner; although we use the term power in some other
contacts, but if I ask you to define power, it becomes again a very difficult; also remember
what Maxover said that the concepts of sociologies are ideal types; we trying to reach reality
with the help of these concepts, but the concepts are not reality; concepts are unreal, they
are tools. They are certain ideas, extended ideas, in terms of this you want to see reality
around us. It is like a, developing a language of communication; beyond that, it means nothing.
If we have to talk about society, we have to use some concepts. Regarding power, Maxover says, the power is
the chance of a man or a number of men to realize their own will in a communal action
even against the resistance of others who are participating
in the action. If I ask you, have you ever
heard the term power? Obviously, you have all heard the term power; and you say that
person is powerful or that group is more powerful; or you have to do something to attain power;
groups, associations, organizations, parties, plan how they can attain power; political
parties plan how to attain power. What is this power? This will not be the definition,
but in most of the sociology books which I have read on power, they have given this definition
by Maxover. Certain elements of this definition are very important for us, and they help us
in understanding the nature of power, the determinants of power, and also the consequence
of the power. Power is the chance, very crucial term, power is the chance. Power is not deterministic;
power is a probability; a powerful person may prove to be an utterly powerless person,
that often happens, that is possible. It is the probability. It only say that a
person or a group of persons who are powerful, have a higher probability, a higher chance
of some kind, it is a chance. So, you cannot broadly divide the whole society into groups
on the basis of power, in the sense that there is always, and a clear cut hierarchy of power.
You can all say that this group of people has power, in the sense that the probability
of certain kind is higher. Now, what is the probability of chance of
a man? A man can be powerful, and here men also means women; it is generic term, man
means man as well as woman. A man or a woman can be powerful or powerless, the chance of
the man or a number of man; that means, power can also be studied in the context of social
groups, aggregates. We can justifiably utter the concept of power to all the groups – a
sports club, photographic club, political party, faculty members, a student’s union,
labor union, union or organization of taxi drivers, society of intellectuals, scientists,
they are the social groups. And, groups also differ in terms of power;
individuals differ in terms of power. Power of all of you individually is not same; some
of you are more powerful than others. The reasons will be different; one out of say
100 students are registered in sports, some students are more powerful than others. The
basics of power may be different, we will come to the basics of power later, again using
the terms of Maxover. Somebody may be powerful, because he is well built and he is physically
so strong that normally, other relatively weaker students would not like to engage in
quarrel with that student. Because, he is powerful; he can beat. Somebody can be powerful,
because he is an pointer. So, he has academic power; and he is able
to influence others, because others may require his help sometime; others will take notes
from him; others may seek his guidance; others may learn from him to which universities to
apply, and in which universities at what minimum CPI or SPI results admissions are given. So,
power can be on the basis of CPI, power can be on the basiss of money; if some student
has lot of money, so much money that he can easily spend money on friends, he can take
them to cinema, give them parties often, he look more popular, he will be more influence
in the group of the students. There can be several types of power. Or, somebody
can be president of Jimcana, suppose in this class there is one student is President’s
son, he will be powerful; sometimes he can be more powerful than teachers also, because
he holds a formal procedure in a formal organization of the students; and in our institute the
students are brilliant in all the senate commities, so person holding the position of president
of Jimcana will be a powerful person. We will see, what are all the basics of power?
So, power is a chance, and power belongs to individuals, and power also belongs to groups.
Today we have and different political parties in a position, as well as some parties with
the congress, within UPA are trying to demonstrate their power, it is not that by burning busses
and stopping trains, the prices of the petroleum, or the prices of petroleum particular will
come down, it is show of power. When political parties organize bandh, the purpose is to
show their power. Samajvathi parties showing, samajvathi parties within the party in power,
to has to demonstrate that they are powerful; and, to demonstrate they are powerful they
are stopping trains and creating problems. They are not bothered about, if there are
problems for the people. BJP is doing the same thing; Janathathal united is doing the
same thing, to the left parties, they are showing their powers.
And power, what are the purpose of power, to realize their own will. Power means ability
or the probability to realize your own will. Again, will is not defined; will may be to
obtain wealth or to obtain political power or to earn prestige, or for any other purpose,
may be of different kinds. Our Hindu text like Geetha will say that even goals can be
, , , your will may be , the will may be to obtain peace, harmony, mutual fulfillment
in society, and transcendence ultimately. Or, the will may be to conquer others, to
expand your kingdom, to expand your political group, this is what sathiriyas did.
Or to obtain some goal, loss the power, loss the will, or it may be a transcit. A transcit
will, in which you feel happy by injuring other people or by sleeping. Transcit, transcit,
two properties of transcit, either not doing anything, or harming others. There are some
people who are of this nature; they are all transit will, they want to sleep or they what
to hurt others. Hurt may be physical, may be psychological; you can hurt peoples physically,
you can slap them, or you can say something, you can utter something to hurt their sentiments.
So, there are people good at that. So, wills may be different, wills may be , , . Some
people are high or stronger on will to obtain peace and , some peoples are good at will
to obtain political power and lot of wealth, become famous, influence others for influences
sake; and there are some other people who feel happy, whose will is either to sleep.
This will always be present in the students, to some extent you are all . All of us, only
purposes differ; there are some students in whom transic proposal will be more, and some
investees less, but it is there. Will in a communal action, this is another
property of power. Then, you want to realize your will in a communal action; that communal
head does not mean, do not associate the word communal with communal riots, here communal
means social. Communal is social, influence of others; when you take into consideration,
others understanding of your action, you can anticipate others reaction and responses to
your actions, or others expectations from you, that is social.
So, power is to realize one’s own will, amidst other people in society. For Maxover,
our sociologist, power in which we try to realize our will in solitude, in case of Himalayas;
that is not, we are not interested, sociologists are not interested in those things. We are
more interested in things which happen in society, among people. So, there must be some
will which has to be realized in a communal action, means influence of other people like.
Even against, other important thing, because you want to realize some will amidst others
in society, in social groups, organizations. Even against the resistance, again I think
this is also crucial word, in this definition each and every word is very important. I will
explain what it means, even against the resistance of others, other people who are participating
in the action may oppose your acts through which you are trying to realize your will,
and still you having higher probability that you cannot in any other; it is the probability
of a man or a group of men, to attain their goals, realize their wills in society or in
social groups; even against the resistance of powers who are participating in the action. Let me explain the term, the resistance. You
often say that state is coercive; that means that state forces society or some groups in
society to behave in a certain manner; force, state may use force, legitimate, state force
is always legitimate; it is considered to be legitimate, though it may be questioned
by some other groups. So, the state is coercive, and we say that NGOs are development organizations.
NGOs are flexible and egalitarian, equal. NGOs are groups without hierarchy of power.
NGOs are groups without hierarchy of power. To understand that I think, we have to focus
on this word resistance. You see, in a class room, you will agree with me, again what I
say, that we repeat it again that, in sociology you are more interested in things which happen
most of the time, with most of people, in most situations. So, there are exceptions.
As a role in any society, in a class room situation or in a school or university, you
would say that teachers are more powerful than students. The chance may be higher, the
chance, teachers can realize their will; in communal action the relationship between teacher
and the students is communal; do not quote it out the context. I am saying the relationship
between teachers and students is communal, this is not in the sense the teachers are
Hindu or the students are Muslims. It is in sense that interaction between teachers and
the students takes place in a social certain. Even again the resistance, there is a resistance.
For example, in an ideal situation, teachers, what is teachers will? Teachers will is to
effectively distribute the knowledge that they have gained in their life of academy,
this is expected from, society expects. Teachers are paid for this, teachers are paid for distributing
knowledge that they have gained in their own areas of expertise in the community of students.
And, students will resistance, the students do not want it; students are not interested;
to define power, this word resistance also important.
So, the teachers will plan, in order distribute knowledge effectively, I will put some weightage
for attendance, some for 2, 3 quizzes, some for mind sums, some for real sums, some for
class participations, may be some for assignments, projects, this teacher is forcing the students
community to learn something in which they are not interested, and they resist. So, the
students can show their resistance by not coming to class, by not doing well in exams,
by sleeping in the class, in variety of ways, disrupting classes; in many colleges and universities
classes are disrupted because students are often on in strike.
So, the students are not, the relationship between the teachers and students are very
interesting. The teachers want to give something, the students do not want to take that; and
therefore, the teachers have to manipulate classroom situations; they have to play some
tricks and say this for , and this is for . Because, there is a resistance; and because
there is resistance, because the students do not want it; and teachers somehow are able
to manage distribution of knowledge in some way; that at end of the semester, out 100
students at least 50 can understand some basic ideas of sociology. They will not answer all
sociological questions, they should be able to answer; in same manner, in which the subject
is treated in this work or other books of sociology, but they understand something of
society. So, teachers have been able to realize their
will. They imagine, imagine a situation in which students are equally interested in learning
the subject, and there is no resistance. Actually, there is a demand. In several European countries,
students union was formed, not because students wanted to boycott classes, but teachers were
not coming to class room, the teachers are not teaching; and students formed union to
pressurize teachers to coach them, to put moral pressure, political pressure, to bring
them to class room and teach effectively. It is very different scenario than the scenario
that we have in India. Here in, Indian students are not interested,
resistance, they offer resistance, and still teachers have to manage. So, teachers have
to manage distribution of knowledge despite resistance, and therefore, teachers are more
powerful. If teachers are doing the same thing in which students are also interested, if
the students are interested there is no need for teaching. If there is more togetherness,
if students and teacher together want to explore new frontiers of knowledge in any branch of
knowledge, it may be sociology, it may be physics, it may be aerodynamics or etcetera.
Teachers want to distribute knowledge regarding matters, and students too are seriously interested
in knowledge in matters; they ignore resistance; in that case, you will say that there is no
inequality of power, then teachers are not powerful. Teachers are powerful, because teachers
realize their own will; forcefully, powerfully distributing their knowledge among the students
or in inculcation of certain values; not only information, but also inculcation of certain
values towards life, orientation towards others, society, patriotism, nationalism to, values
of society. So, because students are forced, they resist
distribution of knowledge, so, students are less powerful, teachers are more powerful.
But, if students are more interested in learning the subject, then it will be difficult to
say, the teachers are powerful; then actually giving seminars, quizzes, grading students,
a b c d upto e, that is a meaningless exercise, absurd. Sometimes students may be knowing
much more than the teachers, sometimes teachers may require students help to develop himself,
this is what NGO, non government organizations do.
In non government organizations, for relief, for development, for taking up social issues,
for disaster management, for campaigns of certain kinds, like awareness, environmental
awareness, awareness about climate changes, causes of climate change, creating a climate
against female feticide, all the members of the NGO are equally interested, even society
is interested; and when such case take place, when all the members of the NGO have the same
goals, same value, Maxover will call it value rationality, when their action is rational,
because they all believe in same value in system; then the concept of power does not
apply. Power exists only when there is resistance; if there is no resistance there is no power,
so this is what power means, and, it states in the institution.
If I define in another way, then the state in the institution which has monopoly over
use of legitimate power; power may be legitimate, power may be illegitimate. Power which is
considered to be right, acceptable in society; illegitimate- not right, questioned by society.
So, use of power by state is legitimate, by others illegitimate. Therefore, the term for
state power is authority, though this authority can be distributed.
When the violence or the power is induced by the state of India to deal with naxalites,
forces, or organizations of various types which indulge in violence, then that power
is considered to be right, legitimate power, it states that the authority. But, use of
power, violence or otherwise, you know some presidents and prime ministers, recently one
president of a country, an old man has been imprisoned for 50 years; he may not survive
for 10 years, but he has been imprisoned for 50 years, not because he participated in any
revelian activity against the state, he himself is the chief of the state, but he sympathize
with the revolutionary groups. So, even sympathy can be questioned. The state only have the
authority, the state has the authority to use power.
If during Bharath bandh, members belong to political parties are burning busses, trains,
forcing people to go away from roads, streets of the city that is illegitimate power. And,
if police or arm forces, use fire arms to stop such miscreants or to disperse the crowd,
then that is a legitimate power authority, because they have the authority, though this
authority has always been questioned. Those, who do not think that the state is
right, that state is against their interest, or state is moral, or state is attempting
to attain goals which we expect from state to obtain, then people may not consider that
the state assigning authority. Peoples, people question states authority. But, and, this
also mean that no state can survive, just by applying physical force. The most cruel
of all the cruel invaders, congress, kings, of the past; after winning a territory, they
start using ideology, campaigns, communication, social service, charity, to get their regions
or their government legitimates. Again, to
give an example that you all did, all of us,
all Indians at least know about Ashok. Ashok towards the end of his life, after winning
the battle in Kalinga, became a Buddhist. Today, we know Ashok to be the great emperor,
a Buddhist, believing in all tourism, charity, helping its subject, very benevolent king,
very good at heart. If Ashoka not become Buddhist, and if Ashok had not shown all these things
later in his life, then we would remember Ashok as another changaiskan of India, most
barbarious. So, even the most changaiskan himself in Magnolia, to get very benevolent
activity, he started realizing activities of society, he respected intellectuals, philosophers,
he created conditions for economic development, for improvement of health, for better organization
of city life. So, because on force alone, we cannot rule a for long time. So physical
violence has to be followed by something else, so that ideology.
Physical violence should be followed by ideology. So, that these people will start looking acceptably
goods, and their philosophy, then actions, are seen to be informative with the values
of society. When late Prime Minister Indhra Gandhi declared emergency, emergency was an
act of force and it was considered to be illegitimate by a large number of people in the country.
But during emergency, see Ashok tried to pursue many, many, many good things. And so good,
that goes to visit , has a gandhian, a saint, a philosopher, somebody whom most people in
India reward for his contribution to Gandhian philosophy, and the champion of the , or the
founder of movement in India. And, he say that we are in the the very good things are
happened, and emergency like disciplining us for the better minds of society.
Here is an attempt to convert or to use both force, physical violence, force, coercion,
along with the ideology; or along with doing some good things in accordance with value
system of society, so that, the deeds and ideas of the state, of the government, of
the regime become acceptable to people. If you just forgot the last part, even last part
is critical; if you really examine Ashok’s writings, sayings when he had become Buddhist.
You can still just raise questions about intensions, but this was certain that if you remove that
part from Ashok’s life, then you are a very barbarious kind of person. Same thing will
be Stalin, with Hitler, Musolini, all are authoritarian rulers; the Maxover, after defining
power Maxover, as I said there are so many source of power, to use some technical sociological
concepts Maxover said that, there are 3 major sources of power, or 3 major sources of legitimate
authority, what are they? Types of power, one traditional, traditional
authority; or power and authority, authority power if use by state is authority; power
used by nazalites, , seperatits, terrorists that is not authority, that is illegitimate.
Traditional authority; then charismatic; and third legal rational authority. When the subject
of power discussion in psychology, in social psychology, then they also identify other
sources of power, but for sociology. According to Maxover, all major sources of power can
be included in these 3 categories. At individual will, there are other sources; there is expert
power; there is connection power; there may be moral power; other sources of power.
But, according to Maxover, all types of authorities can be divided into 3 major types: traditional
authority, charismatic authority and legal rational authority. Though this discussion
should also help you in introspecting and in learning that, if you want to become a
powerful person, in whichever domain you are working, good or bad, civil or political,
how can you attain power? One source of authority, one source of power is conformity or in accordance
with the cultural patterns. Traditional authority in accordance with the
cultural pattern, in accordance with the cultural pattern some people are powerful. For example,
according to the cultural tradition of India, Kshatriyas are the powerful people. It is
their right as well as responsibility to yield power to define their kingdom, their national
directory; it is their dharma. So, according to Indian tradition, Kshatriyas are powerful
people. And, it is expected from all members of society, all people of the village to show
reverence, pay taxes, and if need arises work for them, give them labor, serve them, because
they are powerful people; and this power has been derived from traditional.
So, if topper is powerful, his son is also powerful; why toppers are powerful, because
of tradition. Or, in the felid of religion, the Brahmin is powerful because it is tradition.
In tradition, our tradition will not permit people belonging to other caste and communities
to develop so much religious scholarship as Brahmins have. And, even if they develop so
much of scholarship, religious scholarship as Brahmins have, they will not been seen
as so much powerful in the domain of religion as Brahmins, that is traditional authority;
culture, history, tradition; power that comes from tradition, that is traditional authority.
Usually, the power of novels, the states, feudal aristocracy, Kshatriyas of India that
power is traditional authority. Traditionally we accepted power in certain session of society,
and we also believe that power is transferred from one generation to another. We have so
many myths, literature, ideologies, views, opinions, public opinion that the children
of toppers carry superior geans than children of other castes and communities. There is
a belief, I think sometimes back I saw one film; is there is film with name bikkidonor?
Now, in bikkidonor, this idea was clearly shown that certain groups of people, because
of descent have superior gean than others. Our folklores, our sayings, idioms, proverbs,
our films, literature, folk songs, , they inculcate such belief that some people and
their descents are dependent. This is traditional authority.
In case of charismatic authority, certain people carry some charisma or some quality
in themselves, quality in themselves, because of which they enjoy their charisma. Napoleon,
Lenin, Abraham Lincoln, Pandith Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, , , Jayaprakash Narayan,
they did not enjoy traditional power. It was not because they traditionally belong to a
caste or community or a group of people with whom power is traditionally associated; they
were different. Charismatic people are seen to be different. And all other people they
do not require any organization. Nirmal baba is belived to be one such charismatic
leader. Nirmal Baba does not require any organization. When Mahatma Gandhi say something, either
congress party accepts it or not accept it, the people of India are going to favor Mahatma
Gandhi’s views. Such people can create or destroy organize; they can create organization,
destroy organization. Organization association are not important for them. All the people
in society have one to one or think that they have a personal eyes, one to one relationship
with them, it is because of their own charisma. This tells us, we do not have Gandhi’s in
all situations or Musolini’s or Hitler’s in all situations, but in all situations you
will find that there are, in this class of 100 students itself, if you develop a scale
of charisma, you can give them score from 0 to 100. Some students will be just 0 at
charisma, they cannot influence anyone; why does this happen, again not easy to answer.
And in the some students, 1 or 2 students out of 100, whereever they will go, they will
become monk, they will become flimstar, they may become activors, they may become civil
servant, they may join in research, they will carry some charisma within them. They are
different. You see, here you must have been exposed to
teaching by now atleast 20, 25 teachers. They are all teachers; their social conditions,
their salary structure, their relationship with the student, everything is same; but
there must be some teachers who most students like, or they got influenced, impressed in
some way by that teacher, some way, they have charisma. I wish that all of you carry a charisma
of this kind; whereever you go, you must be charismatic. You must have other thing also,
you must have good CPI, SPI, you must know your domain, you must be export in your field.
But, you also carry a charisma. I have learnt from Parsi students from IT
Kanpur, from other place, even from a small place, they were working in different industries
in Bangalore, Delhi or other places. That in most cases, the students of IIT, and particularly
IIT , IIT Kanpur, they have a some having some type of charisma, it is not traditional
authority; it is something in them in relation to students coming from a small degree colleges,
engineering colleges, and NIIT’s, or even other IIT’s. There is something in them.
It very difficult to define what is that. Sai baba has his charisma. It does not mean
that sai baba, new Hindu religion best; it also does not mean that Sai baba was the most
enlightened soul ever lived on this earth, or in India. There may have been many more
enlightened souls in India, going by purely religious, spiritual frame work also. There
may have been many saints, mahatmas in case of Himalayas, and contemporary people. At
the same time, when Sai Baba lived, but Sai Baba had some kind of charisma. And this charisma
means one to one relationship, everybody, all those who are influenced by charismatic
people, all of them individually accept their power. They may have trust, or may not have
trusts, organizations, trust means organization; they may cannot,
Because, I am saying something about Sai Baba, so, immediately I also remember the religious
controversies, in Chithrapur there is a blind vice chancellor of religious kind of university.
I am forgetting his name, Ram Bhadhriji or something, he made certain significant changes
in the story and writings of ; owned by his own wisdom, they think that certain things
have not been initiated rightly; and there was the conflicts; so many religious peoples
opposed him; ultimately the case went to the court also. This religious guru has his own
charisma; or, recently one such person Jai Gurudev; Jai Gurudev died; a great, a saint
who had great following in all parts of India and outside. And mass, crores of rupees made
so many buildings in several cities, charisma. And lastly, legal rational. Legal rational
means according to rules, according to rules found by society. So, the power of the, power
of a judge, power of senior manager, power of a clerk, power of director, this is the
example of legal rational authority; that society develops a legal rational frame work
of rational, some rules and regulations deliberately, consciously, after lots of debates made by
people; and these rules, like rules, laws, by laws of different organizations. According
to our statues, in educational institution, there are some positions director in one,
heads of the department; heads of the department has position. So, certain decisions in certain
domain is taken by director and head of the departments, are to be followed; they have
the power, head of the department has the power to issue the letter of termination.
These types of powers are legal rational. So, when will you become manager somewhere,
remember that, as a manager you have legal rational authority. But, the rights and obligations
of manager will not necessarily make you the most effective leader; all managers are not
equally effective. So, you have to look for what are all the sources of power in that
situation, and some kind of charisma that you develop; maybe some psychologist can tell
you how to develop the charisma, then by using all these sources of power, you become an
effective leader.

2 thoughts on “Mod-01 Lec-09 State-III: The concept of power

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *