Questions about who has access to more leisure time, who has more money for personal expenditure, whose needs are prioritized within the family, become more central than decision making per se. Seemingly simple, these criticisms of themselves raise important questions about what power is. Definition and Examples,,,,, While previous studies of social movements had looked at individual psychological factors that cause people to join social causes, resource mobilization theory took a wider perspective, looking at the broader societal factors that allow social movements to succeed. They found that access to resources was related to an organization's success, and that particular resources seemed to be especially important: having a physical office location, being able to obtain necessary information, and having effective leadership. What these studies repeatedly highlight is the extent to which wives and mothers in poorer households routinely sacrifice their own needs in order to provide better for their husbands and children. Indeed, as Lukes (2005) argues, the most powerful are those who can rely on the less powerful to make decisions which consistently operate in favor of the more powerful. (See Young & Willmott 1973 for a particularly optimistic analysis.) For example, is the choice of food purchase as consequential as decisions about what apartment/house to buy or rent, or a spouse’s employment? Those with power are the ones who win out, irrespective of the process by which a decision is reached. Sociologists have found that being able to effectively utilize resources is linked to a social organization's success. The Theory. In particular, ideas about historic shifts in the dominance of husbands/fathers within families have vied with feminist inspired views of the continuing significance of patriarchal control in both public and private spheres. How… Polity Press, Cambridge. Moreover, open discussions and consultation are highly valued within con temporary ideologies of coupledom and partnership. Definition and Main Theorists, What Is a Think Tank? Rather, what needs to be considered more is the distribution of material and non-material resources between the couple. Bernard, J. If these arguments are accepted, then it becomes questionable whether decision making can be used to reflect marital power in any simple fashion. Material resources. As a result of their findings, Blood and Wolfe concluded that decision making, and thus power, within marriage was based on the level of social and economic resource that each spouse brought to the marriage. And how is the researcher to decide between competing accounts? Others, however, argued that marriage continued to be a structurally unequal relationship as a consequence of both the differential opportunities open to men and women, especially in the workplace, and the continuation of a highly gendered division of labor within the home (see, e.g., Delphy & Leonard 1992). Definition and Examples, Definition of Systemic Racism in Sociology, What Is Communitarianism? And if not, how should it be weighted, and who should decide on this? Nonetheless, Blood and Wolfe’s study was seminal in opening up debate about the ways in which power is exercised within marriage and helping family sociologists understand its inherent complexities. and the ability to use them. Blumstein, P. & Schwartz, P.  (1983) American Couples: Money, Work, Sex. The issue here was not its size or scope per se, but whether studies of marital power could ever be valid if only one party to the relationship was questioned. Resource dependency theory, in sociology, the study of the impact of resource acquisition on organizational behaviour. William Morrow, New York. Bantam, New York. While, again, this seems like a methodological issue, it is actually more fundamental. The third criticism, more radical than either of the above, calls into question the value of examining who it is who makes decisions as a means of measuring power. Instead of focusing on decision making, it argues that the crucial question is who benefits most from the decisions that are made (Lukes 2005). Allen & Unwin, London. Thus, as Edgell (1980) argued, joint, apparently democratic, participation within marital decision making can help legitimize the relational basis of the marriage, while still operating to secure a structurally embedded and (largely) taken for granted gender order which prioritizes men’s interests. Within the study of marriage, it is further complicated by dominant ideologies of personal commitment that imbue behavior with motives of love and altruism rather more than power and self-interest. Moreover, within this model, how are ”non decisions” to be treated – that is, decisions over which there appears to be little disagreement or debate? Technology in the form of Social Media has facilitated this resource mobilisation. Resource mobilization theory is used in the study of social movements and argues that the success of social movements depends on resources (time, money, skills, etc.) Sociological theory allows us to understand that (in the words of C. Wright-Mills) our private troubles are in fact public issues. Sociological Theory Introduction Sociological theory is probably one of the most difficult, but certainly the most important, areas of Sociological study. McCarthy and Zald also drew the distinction between people who stand to directly benefit from a cause (whether or not they actually support the cause themselves) and people who don't benefit from a cause personally but support it because they believe it is the right thing to do. Thus, the greater the differential in, for example, a spouse’s earnings, education, and status, the greater power that spouse would have to make decisions over different aspects of family life. Free Press, Glencoe, IL. Edgell, S. (1980) Middle Class Couples. One illustration of this alternative perspective on power can be found in the research literature on money management within families. Social resources have broad implications for both types of social actions (Lin 1986). Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. Examples. Resource dependency theory is based on the principle that an organization, such as a business firm, must engage in transactions with other actors and organizations in its environment in order to acquire resources. The former perspective was captured well in Burgess’s (Burgess & Locke 1945) influential idea of a shift from ”marriage as an institution” to ”marriage as a relationship,” with some seeing the growth of ”companionate” marriage as a sure indicator that marriage would increasingly become a relationship of equality (Clark 1991). Lukes, S. (2005) Power: A Radical View. Researcher Bernadette Barker-Plummer investigated how resources allow organizations to gain media coverage of their work. A key question raised by the study was whether each of these decisions was equally indicative of the exercise of power within the marriage. When the theory first appeared, it was a breakthrough in the study of social movements because it focused on variables that are sociological rather than psychological. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Questions about inequalities in marriage and the distribution of power within the relationship have long been a concern within sociology of family. Clark, D. (1991) Marriage, Domestic Life, and Social Change. Young, M. & Willmott, P. (1973) The Symmetrical Family. In particular, they examined how the resources available to each organization were linked to the organization's success. It matters little who decides on a particular issue if the decision that is reached sustains an already unequal status quo. The functionalist perspective, also called functionalism, is one of the major … (1973) The Future of Marriage. For example, decisions about family meals may be left to wives as part of their domestic responsibilities with the outcome that wives choose food they know their husbands prefer. What Is the Resource Mobilization Theory? In other words, Barker-Plummer suggests, as NOW grew as an organization and developed more resources, it was also able to also gain media coverage for its activities.
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