September 4, 2012.
Historically and geographically contextual, socially constructed, power relations
Lynn Weber portrays the divisions inherent in the society as being socially constructed. They are power relations that subject an individual or a group of individuals to a given group based on the social constructs at that particular period in a given geographical environment. This means that they are contextual. Weber also asserts that the power relations operate at both the micro and macro levels of society (HYPERLINK “http://www.google.co.ke/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=inauthor:%22Lynn+Weber%22&source=gbs_metadata_r&cad=5” Weber 132).
During the reconstruction period, the ideal white man was portrayed as stoic, dominative and strong. The ideal white woman was caring and emotional. The black man was considered silly and dependent on luck while the black woman was an emotionally strong and asexual woman. These were the social constructs at that particular time period as portrayed by Weber.
In the modern society, much of these social constructs have changed and taken on new dimensions though the underlying concept of power struggles still exist. Weber also says that for a group to maintain its power position, it creates social rankings to justify their position to subject the rest in the lower positions. That is the reason as to why there is unequal distribution of resources.
Weber’s claims are valid and can be proven by the manner in which the society changes. She says that no individual remains permanently in their defined group. Acquisition of knowledge enables individuals to rise to position of power and topple the accepted norm of social classes HYPERLINK “http://www.google.co.ke/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=inauthor:%22Lynn+Weber%22&source=gbs_metadata_r&cad=5” (Weber 135). When individuals in a lower society or class, for instance the blacks in America refuse to accept their positions as portrayed in mainstream media, civil rebellions rise up with individuals claiming to be recognized as equals. This happened during the civil rights movement period when the blacks refused to be identified as second class citizens.
Weber claims that no individual is entirely an oppressor or a victim HYPERLINK “http://www.google.co.ke/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=inauthor:%22Lynn+Weber%22&source=gbs_metadata_r&cad=5” (Weber 137). While this concept may be true in the corporate world, it might fail to apply in the social setting where women have been subjected to lower position since time immemorial. Women have been trying to raise their voices towards this subjugation but have not entirely succeeded in their quest.
Weber though makes assumptions when she tries to define the working class men and middle class men. The assertion that the working class men value physical strength and that middle class men value intellectual prowess is argumentative. Most men desire physical strength irrespective of their intellectual prowess.
On the whole though, Weber’s division of social classes is valid. Also true is Weber’s assertion that these social divisions are merely created in the mind and by the dominant class but can be toppled using various means.
HYPERLINK “http://www.google.co.ke/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=inauthor:%22Lynn+Weber%22&source=gbs_metadata_r&cad=5” Weber, Lynn. Understanding Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality: A Conceptual Framework.
USA: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.