Politics > Determining Political Choice > Applications > Families > Sources of Power

Power Sources I: Raw Power

Power Struggles: CL1

At the base will be the power struggles over goods and benefits that the family has to offer. It shows up in families as: dominating-submissive attitudes, hierarchical authority, and battles for control.

Domination and control in a family, between spouses and between parents and children, focus on everyday matters like…Closed the timing and content of meals, bedtimes, tidiness and cleanliness, use of common possessions, doing household chores, choice of friends, consumption of alcohol, performance of ritual activities.

Where these battles get out of hand, every tiny decision becomes a battle-field. This can escalate, much as in society: i.e. to violence—child abuse or spouse battering.

Social controls within a family have to handle the instinctual urges of members and the battles for control.

Regulation: CL2

The family emerges in a cultural environment that specifies unambiguously how a family ought to be run. The ethnic customs, sometimes mixed with religious rules serve as the family equivalent to rule of law. Religious rules are often called «commandments» to make the power-element unmistakable.

Family members may feel able to determine some of their own customs, but these will be ultimately derived from their culture. Altering customs is far more difficult than altering the law. Customs are handed down as traditions embedded in habits and modes of thinking.

The higher two sources of power (CL3 & CL4) emerge from the need for the family to do work in order to survive and thrive.

Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 12 June 2014.

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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