limitations of Sharp approach
Limitations of Sharp's Approach

Structural approaches provide a useful contrast for examining Sharp's theory of power. Sharp's focus on consent is individualistic and voluntaristic in orientation, as shown by his attention to psychological reasons for obedience. An analysis of social structure provides another way to understand consent (Moore, 1978).

An understanding of the power relationships associated with capitalism would seem essential to developing effective non-violent
methods of struggle. While Sharp gives numerous examples of non-violent action by workers - he devotes an entire chapter of The
Politics of Nonviolent Action to 23 types of strikes (1973, pp. 257-284) - he gives no examination of capitalism as a system of power, and misses out on insights provided by Marxist analysts.

While in principle an oppressive ruler can be opposed by workers walking off the job, in practice there are many factors to be taken
into account in mobilizing them to do so. The workers are likely to be divided along lines of status, skill, wages, gender and ethnicity; the
mass media may provide little support or active disinformation; certain workers may have been tied to the regime by dispensation of special favours, being involved in corruption, or compromised by participating in repression of minorities; education in nationalism may make it easy for the ruler to raise the spectre of foreign enemies, external agitators
and hurting the national interest.

Furthermore, the 'system', whatever its oppressiveness, may still serve to benefit large groups of people in certain ways. Many
members of the working class, while exploited by capitalists, at the same time receive wages sufficient to offer a life seen as better than those of their parents. Capitalism as a social system simultaneously oppresses and benefits those who live in it.

Another key factor in systems of power is technology. Rather than being neutral tools, technologies can be said to embody social relations (Dickson, 1974). In other words, particular artefacts are easier to use for some purposes and by some social groups than others. For example, nuclear weapons can serve the ends of state elites and perhaps some terrorists, but not the ends of environ mentalists or even the police. Small-scale solar energy embodies values of self-reliance and decentralization, whereas fossil fuels are more easily linked to dependence on centralized suppliers.

Bringing Down Dictators & Consolidating Democracies »Bringing Down Dictators & Consolidating Democracies
1. Introduction: Theory »1. Introduction: Theory
power »power
concepts of power »concepts of power
constructivist »constructivist
Sharp theory »Sharp theory
limitations of Sharp approach
bureaucracy »bureaucracy
patriarchy »patriarchy
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