power

The Game of Power

by Antonia M

I have just witnessed an involuntary interchange of authority between individuals. Read further and you will understand what I mean by that.

I was just sitting on my balcony, enjoying the spring’s breeze and the silence Easter holiday brings, when suddenly I saw two boys of the age of 10-11 walking down the street. What intrigued me to look at them more carefully was the body language and the clothing style. The less taller kid was wearing a hoodie and loose pants and the other kid that was a little taller (and I think one or two years older) was wearing a cap, a hoodie, a large t-shirt and loose jeans. What stroke me the most was how the taller one had that “swag” walk, all extroverted and alfa male body language. It was obvious that the other one was intimidated by the “alfa dog” and was walking behind and not beside him. This was the first involuntary obedience behavior I have seen in this scenario.

When they crossed the street, the two boys interacted with other three boys but these were older, about 13-14 years old. In that group there was a leader, too and when they have seen the two younger children, they engaged into a high confidence appearance and loud speaking voice. The initial boys suddenly changed their body language, shoulders pulled in front, insecure voice, a mild handshake ( apparently they all known each other and shook hands). This was the first change of authority and the third involuntary obedience behavior I have seen in this scenario (the second obedience behavior was in the second group). But wait, there is more!
(more…)

150 years of Weber

by Maria Purcariu

That awesome guy whose name we borrowed for creating this blog was born exactly 150 ago!

Mhm. Max Weber, one of the founding fathers of sociology and the latest fashion in terms of worshiping a dead personality, contributed to our current lives more than we’ll ever know. If I could, I would create a whole new science based on his works and call it “Weberology”, but sadly, someone was smarter than me and had already coined the term.

In case you don’t already hate him for having had to study about his ideal bureaucratic model in school, here’s something that should make you reconsider:

Five hilariously insane dictators that redefine the way we understand man’s relationship with power

by Bogdan Sucilă

The temptation of power and the ability to exercise dominance over fellow members of one’s “tribe” has long been a vivid temptation for almost any member of the animal kingdom, humans included. For most of us, this a largely a grey-area subject, considering the unlikelihood of a situation where your average Joe / Jane will be put in a posture where he can decide the fates of others in a godlike manner. The investment of great decisional power upon an individual is often preceded by a lengthy period of grooming, be it training and tutorship offered by those from which the reins of power will be inherited (royal succession, passing on the leadership of a great corporation, etc.), or a slow but steady ascension on the hierarchical ladder that indirectly prepares the eventual ruler for his mission.

But as we all know, history (and fate) don’t always play by the books. Sometimes, a sum of favorable circumstances and fortunate decisions, maybe topped by a charismatic personality, may help a more-or-less common individual achieve great power in a relatively short period. These individuals are referred to as opportunists, and are generally looked down upon with scorn, either because of the self-proclaimed moral codes of society, or much more often simply because of envy from the less fortunate. Opportunists come in many shapes and sizes, most of them being either nouveau riche “businessmen”, or corrupt politicians. While the aforementioned are a rather common sight in Romanian society, they are not nearly as interesting as the category we are going to talk about today: dictators.

(more…)

The Panopticon

by Raluca Igr

Before giving the contemporary context of what Panopticon means, let’s turn a bit in time and find roots in old legends and myths, beyond which we can later understand that surveillance and power have evolved within one concept.

So, we can find the roots of the word Panopticon within the Greek myth of Argus Panoptes who saw everything but was never been seeing. In one of the version of the myth, he was having only one eye, but was omnipresent; in another, he was having 4 eyes, each one turned at a cardinal point; or he was having a body covered in eyes. Panoptes means “he who sees everything” and was a giant who had saved Arcadia from the rage of a horrifying bull and who was recognized as a sort of police force that protected farmers and shepherds. ( in the legend, he was transformed in a peacock, and all of his 100 eyes changed in the shape of peacock feathers 🙂            ImageImageImage

English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham was either inspired by the myth or by the practicality of the composed word (Panoptic –related to the eye and act of watching, and pan-as in cinematography to make a panorama of the surrounding) when he named the Panopticon his design of a type of institutional building at the end of the XVIII century.
(more…)