Sociology Daily Answer Writing (05-07-2022)

Works and Economic Life | Politics and Society


Model Solutions

1. Compare and contrast constant sum and variable sum theories of power. 20

2. Compare the social organisation of work in slave and feudal societies. 10

Model Structure 1.


● Define Power: Power is the ability of an individual, group, or institution to influence or exercise control over other people and achieve their goals despite possible opposition or resistance.

Main Body

Constant sum theory of power:

● First systematic attempt to explain power was made by Max Weber who defined power as the chance of a man or a number of men to realize their own will, even against the resistance of others who are participating in the action.

○ This is called the Zero-Sum concept of power or constant sum concept of power.

● One group has power, by denying power to others.

● Basis of power according to Weber is party.

● Power holders will hold power to further their own interest.

● Contradicting to Karl Marx, Weber says that instead of studying class power one has to study class and power that represents two-dimensional stratification systems.

● Class power means the capacity of class to mobilize wealth while party is an organization to mobilize political power but both party and class can influence each other.

Variable sum theory of power:

● Parsons rejects the constant sum concept of power and the view that power is employed in the furtherance of sectional interest.

○ He regards power as something possessed by the society as a whole. Power is the generalized facility or the resource in the society.

● It is the capacity to mobilize resources of the society, for the attainment of goals on which a general public commitment has been made.

● This view is called variable sum power since power in society is not seen as fixed or constant.

● Parsons begins with the assumption that value consensus is essential for the survival of the social system.

● From shared values, collective goals are derived. Since goals are shared by all members of the society power will generally be used in the furtherance of collective goals.

● Exercise of Power means everybody wins and this forms the basis of cooperation and reciprocity which is essential for the maintenance and wellbeing of the society.

● However, Parsons is criticized for he failed to appreciate that power is frequently used to further sectional interest rather than to the benefit of society as a whole


● Finally conclude by saying that classical theories of power contributed to sociological understanding of Power

Model Structure 2.


● Define Social Organisation of work: Patterning of economic activities which reflect the normative structure of society in the form of stratification, power relations, social mobility, DoL, etc.

Main Body

● Feudal system - a political arrangement in which kings and feuds were in agreement. For land and its control, feuds support the king.

● Replaces slave system of work

● Feudal vs slave

○ Labour: Not owned vs Owned by owner

○ Stratification: Feudal, serfs, clergy etc. Vs slave-owner

○ Activities of Production: Agriculture vs Hunting-gathering

○ Source of Power: Land vs. Slave ownership

○ Economic exchange system: barter system vs Community exchange

○ Labour rights: marginal vs none

○ Wages: mostly kind, bit cash vs Almost none

○ Relation: Patron and dependency vs owning the slave thus total surrender.

○ Significance of religion: more in feudal as it worked as an instrument of ruling class ideology. (Advanced vs. Primitive)

○ Social mobility: relatively high in feudal society (almost zero mobility in slave society)

○ In both, mostly informal types of organization. Yet more rights in the feudal MoP than slave society.


● From feudalism it usually transformed into capitalist mode of production. In any economies, all these MOPs present in one or other form

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