Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dialectical Inequality and Domination

... Embedded in all relations of domination is a dialectical need that each position has for the other. Consider any such relationship centered around different forms of power. For example, consider the power of parents over children, police over citizens, boss over worker, celebrities over the unfamous, officials over voters, officers over soldiers, clergy over laity, experts over the unskilled, or teachers over students. In each, those in the dominated position (less power) often need or identify with those in the dominant position (more power). Sometimes the whole reason why they are in the subordinated position is due to this need (e.g. children need parental protection and other necessities, laity seek religious guidance, voters want leaders, the unskilled want help, or students require knowledge), whether perceived or real. Consequently, this results in patterns of dependency or identification with one's dominators. Yet, the reverse is true of the dominators: their position of privilege is premised upon needing the presence of those they dominate. Without subordinated workers there are no bosses, if the unfamous do not watch-out for “greatness” there can be no celebrities, officials need voters to put them there, and teachers need students to listen to them. Dominators perceive themselves to be indispensable and may construct an identity for themselves based upon their position of privilege (in respect to others) rather than based on their own intrinsic characteristics. Thus, the very relationship of domination creates adherents who need the unequal relationship to define themselves by. This need illustrates some of the formidable challenges in convincing people to avoid, undermine, or overturn domination.

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