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Created by:

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Last updated:

November 19, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


Using examples from anthropology and sociology alongside classical and contemporary social theory, this course explores the nature of dominant and subordinate relationships, types of legitimate authority, and practices of resistance.

The course also examines how we are influenced in subtle ways by the people around us, who makes controlling decisions in the family, how people get ahead at work, and whether democracies, in fact, reflect the “will of the people.”

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction, Opening Discussion Unlimited
  • How do we Study or do Social Science? Unlimited
  • Continue Elaborating Definition of Power as Capacity to Produce Intended and Foreseen Effects on Others Unlimited
  • Continue Elaboration of the Definition of Power, Begin Discussion of What Power is Not Unlimited
  • Conformity and Influence, Unlimited
  • Force (cont.) Unlimited
  • Personal Power, Charisma, Leadership Unlimited
  • Charisma, Video of Reputedly Charismatic Leaders’ Speeches Unlimited
  • Explaining Power Differentials, from Classical Theory Unlimited
  • Classical Theories of Power, How do Differentials in Power Arise? Unlimited
  • How do Power Differential Arise? From Social Organization Unlimited
  • How do Power Differentials Arise: Lessons from Classical Social Theory (cont.), Review of Last Class: Max Weber Unlimited
  • How do Differentials in Power Arise? Lessons from Social Theory (cont.) Unlimited
  • How do Power Differentials Arise? Lessons from Social Theory, Marx (cont.) Unlimited
  • How is Power Institutionalized? Foucault Unlimited
  • How is Power Institutionalized and Exercised? Unlimited
  • Power Institutionalized Unlimited
  • Power Institutionalized, Concluded, Transformations in Authority in Modern World Unlimited
  • Transformations in Location and Sources of Authority (cont.) Unlimited
  • Professional Authority and Cultural Hegemony Unlimited
  • Professional Authority and Cultural Hegemony (cont.) Unlimited
  • Post-Modernism, Postmodernity and Power (cont.) Unlimited
  • Conclusion on Postmodernism / Postmodernity, Class Discussion Unlimited
  • Concluding Observations, Comments Unlimited

About the instructor


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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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