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Max Weber and Michel Foucault come from different schools of thought and this is most evident in their treatise on power Essay

Max Weber has claimed that power arises when given two people in a social relationship one will try to get himself in a better position to enforce his will on the other despite any form of resistance.   This then assumes that there is conflict between these two parties in the social relationship as both try to enact his will and only one succeeds in doing so because level of power differ between individuals and groups and some who have limited power are subject to accept the will of those with greater power.According to Weber, there are 3 kinds of power: coercive which means that the object is forced to accept another’s will for fear of punishment and repercussions; utilitarian which means that the object obeys the will of the subject because it furthers his own interests and motives; finally, because the subject has a legitimate claim to power and necessitates obedience from others.  Weber further streamlines his definition of power with domination and authority, wherein domination are the probabilities that one will be obeyed, its truest form being that obedience is given voluntarily as it is within the interest of the follower to do so.  Authority is a form of domination which Weber goes on to define in his treatise to take the form of traditional, charismatic and legal.With this kind of power, Weber illustrates a stratified form of social relationships wherein the one with power will be on top of the structure commanding the rest of society who obey him and who are positioned underneath him.Foucault’s definition of power is totally different from that of Weber’s since his sense of power is not associated with positioning or domination but is closely linked to knowledge.  Foucault claims that power is derived from the exchange of knowledge in the economy of discourse.  In this economy there is a constant exchange of knowledge the veracity of which is arbitrary. Thus, declarations of knowledge will only be accepted as true if the receiver of that knowledge holds it to be true.  Upon acceptance of the knowledge as truth, the receiver is then affected by this truth thus resulting in the subject, the declarer, to have power over its object, the receiver.  Therefore, the definition of power for Foucault is the ability of one to affect another’s behavior and actions.Both sociologists agree that power comes with resistance.  In the case of Weber, resistance will come in the form of the opposite which the receiver would want to enforce as well but due to his limited level of power cannot but obey the command of the subject.  Foucault claims that the discourse that creates power is the same discourse that forms the resistance.  Within a dialogue, to forms of knowledge will be declared and the non-acceptance of the declarations as truth will create the resistance to the influence or power of the other.Because of the subjectivity of Foucault’s power and knowledge base, Weber’s definition of power and its implementation in society is far more accepted as the true definition of power – and following Foucault, it would mean that his economy of discourse serves as the resistance to the power of Weber.References:Peterson, Ryan. Michael Foucault Power/Knowledge. 12 November 2001. 14 February 14, 2008. http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/Speech/rccs/theory54.htmMathiason, John. The Power to Legitimize: from Max Weber to Hans Blix. International Studies Association. 2004. 14 February 2008. http://classes.maxwell.syr.edu/intlmgt/readings/The_use_of_legitimation.htmPower, Domination, Legitimation, and Authority. Sociology 250. 1999. 14 February 2008. http://uregina.ca/~gingrich/o12f99.htm

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