Ian Welsh iwelsh@sympatico.ca
Sat, 11 May 2002 02:28:33 -0400

Granted.  However for the purpose of debate either a shared definition is
needed or we have to argue over what power means - which I did a bit of,
actually.  Where does power shade over into influence - or is influence just
a subset of power?  The danger of thinking of everything in terms of power -
something that Collins, as a Conflict theorist, sometimes seems in danger of
doing - is that anything that can explain everything is probably too losely
defined to be a useful tool of analysis.

That said, Collins is probably my favourite explainer of Sociology.  Anybody
who has an open mind on the subject should pick up his Introduction to
Non-Obvious Sociology.  There's a lot there that indeed isn't obvious and is
worth thinking about.


-----Original Message-----
From: Kelley [mailto:kelley@interpactinc.com]
Sent: Friday, May 10, 2002 10:36 PM
To: iwelsh@sympatico.ca
Cc: kelley@interpactinc.com; FoRK
Subject: Re: Fascism

At 10:09 PM 5/10/02 -0400, Ian Welsh wrote:
>are you pulling this from Randall Collins' discussion in An Introductin to
>Non-obvious Sociology?
>Others: it doesn't really matter how you define power as long as the
>definition is shared and understood.  A decent use of the word is to mean
>"the ability to have people do things they wouldn't do otherwise".  Which
>to say, there is a case for money being a form of power because I'll tell
>you I do things for money I wouldn't do otherwise and I'm betting that most
>people do (like, say, work at my less than enjoyable job.)
>The ace in a power dispute is guns - but the final arbiter of guns is the
>ability to convince people to use them in your cause - which means that
>ideology and belief rules the world much more than most people realize.
>When legitimacy is seen to be gone suddenly it is indeed again  a scramble
>for hearts and minds of those with the guns.  Lose that scramble and the
>guns aren't yours.  (All of this applies to power within societies more
>conflict between societies, obviously.)

yes, i edited a bunch of extraneous crap from lecture notes. that was part
of a larger lecture, npart, on social structure, power, inequality.  sorry
about that. what was the paradox about making haste again?

i'd have to disagree however that it doesn't matter, as long as it is
"shared and understood". it's precisely there that you miss collins' point
about controlling the def. of the situation--and the fact that debate
doesn't disappear even when "we" agree.