Georg Simmel: Domination (Chapter 7, pg. 96-120)
How is domination a form of interaction?
• An often unacknowledged aspect of domination is that of “voluntary-ness”. To be dominated is not compulsory – if you are being dominated, you are allowing it. • Thus, domination is an interaction between the dominator (superordinate) and the submissive (subordinate).
Domination as a “sociating” process (96-7):
• It is part of the interaction between superordinate and subordinate. • This is consistent with is his view of society – society based on interactions. • Domination is not sociating when “the other is absolutely indifferent and a mere means for the purposes that lie beyond him” (97).
The Personal “Freedom” in Domination:
• The personal freedom of the subordinate is never completely removed – expect in the case of physical domination. • Since domination is an interaction, actions come from personal origins, even if those origins are not completely evident.
Authority and Prestige:
• The authority of an individual comes about 2 different ways: o “A person of superior significance or strength may acquire … an overwhelming weight of his opinions, a faith, or a confidence which have the character of objectivity” (98). o “A super-individual power – church, state, school, family or military – clothes a person with a reputation, a dignity, a power of ultimate decision, which would never flow from his individuality” (99). ▪ In this case, when the person changes into one of authority, the voluntary faith of the dominated party comes into play. Both parties must cooperate for authority to be recognized. The autonomy of the dominated is presupposed and never wholly eliminated (99). • Prestige: (another aspect of superiority) Different from authority in that it lacks the identity with an objective power or norm. o “Prestige leadership stems from pure personality” (99) & “strikes a...
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