social change Essay

2181 Words Nov 4th, 2013 9 Pages
Power in Society – Marx Conflict Perspective & Elite Theory
Social Analysis
Karyn Krawford 08/09


Power is present in each individual and in every relationship. It is defined as the ability of a group to get another group to take some form of desired action, usually by consensual power and sometimes by force (Holmes, Hughes & Julian, 2007).

In society governments, organisations and an elite class of people make decisions that affect the lives of a large mass of other people. A significant amount of research shows these decisions are often made to serve their own economic interests and values of which includes the means of production and property ownership
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These people consciously conspire to maintain control over the masses (Holems et al, 2007, Walters & Crook, 1995). Akard (2001) splits this group into two organised segments, governing elites who hold broad political power and non-governing.

Similarly a highly paid managerial class are identified as those who produce profits for the company, thereby given a lot of power and control over others (Holmes et al, 2007; Haralambos & Holborn, Graetz, 2001). Consequently power is passed down from owner to manager who is in control on a daily basis (McGregor, 2000).

In order for the elite to maintain this control they need to be aware of their membership to the group, act in ways to further their own interests and exchange information between members to conspire the control (Holmes et al, 2007) and to close the access for others making them exclusive (Akard, 2001). For example in Australia there is believed to be an increasing interlock of relationships particularly in the media, sport and education sectors which can be observed by the number of executives each sitting on each the boards of these organisations (Holmes et al, 2007).

A number of elite theorists have written about the networking and interlocking of this group (Holmes et al, 2007), also known as mobility (Holmes et al, 2007, Walters & Crook, 1995). For example Australia used to be known as ‘the Welfare State’ in which it served to support

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