Weber and Simmel's Take on Power and Conflict

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Amber Clayton
Weber and Simmel’s Take on Power and Conflict
Jon Witt, explaining Max Weber’s theory on resources of power, was not surprised at the fact that students do not use the party resource to fight for better tuition costs, because of the individualistic society of the United States. This fits into conflict theory because the school would be considered a rational-legal authority. The students “give in” to the rules and perceived rights of the school to raise tuition costs. As Jon Witt said “there are reasons… for why people should do what they are told to do.” If the school did not charge the students money then they would not be able to pay the teachers and professors to educate them. This idea fits into the broader theory because

Witt’s claim about the US being individualistic is not expanded in this chapter, but it is in previous ones. In chapter 4, Witt mentioned “…we combine extreme interdependence (due to specialization) with a strong sense of individualism (tied to a weak collective conscience). We depend on each other more than ever, but we realize it less.” In an article by Margaret Foster, she asks 70 college presidents “can you school continue to attract students at its current rate of tuition growth?” and 80% said yes. This tells me that students are simply following the rational-legal authority of the bureaucratic schools, choosing to accept the higher charges and taking out higher loans. The students most likely do this because they are too weak as individuals to do anything about it or they assume the school leaders are making these decisions because they have no other choice (bad economy, budget cuts, ect). George Ritzer claims that the unpredictability of human error has led to a desire for greater control and the replacement of human with nonhuman technology. The idea of companies (bureaucracies) replacing humans with technology to ensure efficiency fits into Weber’s theory of formal rationality. As Ritzer explains “[Fast-food...
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