In modern society, people face many social challenges in their day-to-day life. Individuals are not happy in the way the societal affairs are managed and coordinated, thus, the need for social change for enhancement of the living standards. Despite the joint efforts to address the challenges, the problem persists; raising questions on the modalities developed as tools of solving the underlined problems and challenges. As a result, class difference is a common phenomenon in the world. It is because individuals, societies, and countries are in pursuit of different mechanisms to enhance the ways of life. By considering the mechanisms imposed by the different societal agents, from a shallow perspective, makes it difficult to understand the underlying motives behind every move staged by each social agent towards the next. For example, some countries from West pretend to be concerned in helping the developing countries, such as those in Africa, to prosper in economic performance. However, a keen analysis of the distribution of the benefits may not be as thought in the first instance. It is because developed countries may have hidden agendas towards the developing countries. The developed countries only get rich at the expense of other countries. On the other hand, societies in national and regional levels also exhibit similar relationship, as demonstrated by the developed and developing nations.
Existence of such contradicting relationships among social agents explains why it is exceedingly difficult to stop dominance in the society. Consequently, societal differences in terms of economic development, levels of civilization, and practices of democracy must rule. Consequently, it is crucial to understand the reasons behind societal dominance, and the strategies imposed by the dominant societies that give them privileges over the dominated. This paper will rely on the social theories of three key renowned works of sociological theorists. First, we shall consider the works of Habermas, by concentrating on his theory of communicative actions. Habermas’ theory will give a deeper insight of the existence of dominance in the society and the proposed ways of reducing the impact of dominance in the world. Second, we will consider the works of Bourdieu, by allowing for his view on the class struggles in meeting the requirements of the national ideologies. Finally, the paper will reflect on the ideologies of Chatterjee to see his contribution of how societies work to meet the objectives in a competitive world full of struggles.
Habermas’ Communicative Action Theory
In the theory of communicative action theory, Habermas postulates the effect of the system and life worlds. Habermas divides system and lifeworld into a more distinct group. According to Habermas, systems are divided into economic and administrative system. On the other hand, there is public and private lifeworld. Habermas divides the system and lifeworld into a different group to provide an insight on capitalism. Habermas gives an insight on how the lifeworld and system interchanges to meet their desired goals. For example, individuals in the family have an expectation towards the economic system to enhance their prosperity. However, the success of an individual depends on the process of socialization. Therefore, interaction of the systems and lifeworld bring about capitalism (Stephens, 2004).
According to Habermas, the exchange of systems and lifeworld is determined by the social roles that different players take in society. For example, the share of power and money depends on the role of clients, consumers, employee, and employers among others. Therefore, Habermas points the essentiality of the family in the creation of societal dominance. The reason; family is the building block of individual ways of mannerism. As a result, the individual behavior is life is a demonstration of social behavior in the course of individual life. Therefore, existence of old traditions increases the chances for survival of a capitalistic society. This is because traditionally family lacked the autonomy; thus, the proponent of capitalism mainly controlled the behavioral patterns demonstrated. Hence, individuals in the family lacked the rationality to make their own choices. This forced them to adopt the traditional view, which gave the economic systems and administrative to pursue their ill motives against the society (Stephens, 2004).
According to Habermas, with an increase in civilization family becomes more autonomous in thinking. For example, the extended families become a history. As a result, individuals become more rational and demonstrated rationality in all avenues of their lives. This resulted to revolution and drop of uncivilized traditions that threatened the living standards of individuals in society (Stephens, 2004).
In addition, Habermas believes that it is difficult to eliminate dominance in the society due to the existence of systems that dictate the life patterns people. According to Habermas, individuals value the system because it helps them achieve their objectives. For example, a government institution forms a system that binds the lives of individual in society. Therefore, existence of systems explains why some societies are dominant over others.
Therefore, it is evident that societies will continue exhibiting dominance as long as there is the difference on rationality among families. Thus, the rise of revolution against capitalism and any injustice is stoppable by the action of the individual members of society. Growing autonomous among families will initiate the revolution process that will help end dominance among societies. However, it is not possible to end dominance in the society due to the difference in the way individual reasons and the socialization process in community. Hence, society exhibits different degree of autonomous due to variation in rationality and socialization process across families. Consequently, different families have various ways of managing their socialization process. This leads to a variety of systems and lifeworlds differently from other families. As a result, there will exist different economic and administrative systems (Stephens, 2004).
In addition, the existence of civilization differences creates dominance between members of society. In a country, it is possible to have different ethnic groups dominating over other groups. This can be due to the difference in variation of suitability of systems that will enable efficient distribution of powers and money. As a result, some society will automatically dominate over other societies. It is because the political process is essential in the allocation of resources in any public set up. Thus, some ethnic grouping will have a significant contribution in negotiating for allocation of resources in the manner that favors their development. Consequently, societies will have different levels of power from others. This leads to dominance of one community over another (Habermas, 2000).
In conclusion, Habermas’ communicative action theory asserts that it is not possible to eliminate dominance as long as there is an existence of difference in communication abilities between individuals, societies, and countries. The implication of communicative action theory of Habermas in the society is to sensitize individuals in societies to embrace learning of language to enhance their communication abilities. Therefore, dominance of one society over others can be reduced by instituting a proper mechanism that aims at reducing language skills difference to put all societies at par in communication competence (Habermas, 2000).
Bourdieu significantly contributes to the field of sociology in his insight on societal dominance. According to him, the environment shapes the individuals behaviors by influencing their decision that they make in the future. Thus, the construction of society depends on the experience that members of society have relating to their lives. For example, the behavior of an orphaned child is shaped by the hardship that he or she undergoes while growing. Thus, the steps that the orphan takes differ from that taken by another child in a favorable environment. Therefore, Bourdieu believes that experience that an individual, society, or nation faces influence significantly the organization of society or nation (Reed-Danahay, 2005). Bourdieu contends that people face different situations that lead to variation in the structures of the society formed. This results in formation of communities, nations, and continents with different institutional capabilities (Reed-Danahay, 2005).
According to Bourdieu, habitus is the internalization of social structures by individuals. Thus, habitus determines the behavior of individual and impedes the need for social change. This is because habitus makes change difficult as it fosters in the creation of social orders. Another factor that impedes social change is misrecognition. Misrecognition makes a person fails to question what he believes and does in life. Thus, an individual feels satisfied with what he does in daily life and will always resist new ideas. Therefore, misrecognition and habitus forms blocks that derail possibilities of initiating social change in society. As a result, due to nature of a human being there is persistent struggle among individuals to be better than others.
However, hysteresis brings possibilities of social change in society. Hysteresis comes when societal habitus no longer matches broader environment calling for social change to remedy the situation. According to Bourdieu, change in the social environment renders habitus irrelevant; pushing society to implement changes to enhance their existence.
This theory supports the assertion of existence of different societies with different capabilities experienced in the level of political, social, and economic developments. This translates to the formation of societies with abilities to dominate over other societies in the world. Therefore, it is difficult to construct a social society free from the element of domination because of the following reasons.
The existence of historical differences in economic development among different societies further widens the scope of domination in any community setting. This is because individuals in these different societies experiences different environment that triggers them to formulate different reaction. Thus, applying Bourdieu’s theory, those individuals from civilized society have high chances of making a decision that enables them to achieve significant development compared to those people from uncivilized society. Therefore, this will lead to persistence difference in the level of social development of these societies. The typical case of the Bourdieu’s application is best seen when comparing individuals from developing and developed economies. For example, individuals from a developed nation such as China have different mindsets when compared with those from undeveloped economies such as the Congo. This is because, Chinese people have a better exposure in terms of modern technologies that make their citizen think in implementing innovation that have not been experienced. This makes China continue dominating in the world’s economies.
This makes Bourdieu’s theory applicable in that it is difficult to alienate dominance among societal groupings. Therefore, as long as there is regional imbalance among societies and countries, dominance will exist in the economy. However, the dominance will tend to favor the powerful economies over the less developed segments. Thus, the theory implies that if correction measures are not taken in time, there is the possibility of never achieving equality in the world due to regional imbalances in economic, political, and economic endowment (Reed-Danahay, 2005).
Application of the Theory
Bourdieu’s fails to give the solution of alleviating the existence of cultural differences. This is because he only gives the account of the individuals’ differences in perception of situation resulting from the influence of the past environment. This implies that when individuals in various environments are exposed to a similar condition, there are high chances that they will perceive and make a decision that do not make any significant differences. However, it is not possible to expose all individual to the same environment; thus, explaining the difficulties of achieving the same level of development among different societies in the world.
Chatteree postulates a compelling supposition explaining the being of dominance in society. According to Chatteree’s theory, countries mobilize their resources and uses nationalism ideologies to enhance economic development. Chatteree clarifies that countries engages in a game of competition and measures their economic development in relation to other countries. Thus, there is some level of imitation of practices among countries in an attempt of out doing each other in terms of social development. According to the theory, there are two types of nationalism. The first nationalism originates from the western cultures. This is a nation’s ideologies adopted by the west nations as a guiding principle to make individual achieve the national development. The west nationalism is composed of nations from Europe. The second nationalism ideologies refer to that adopted by developing economies such as Africa continent. This nationalism ideology is an imitation of the cultural and values embraced by the western countries. This puts African continent in a compromising state, because adoption of western cultural practice forced them to drop some of its reach African to make them achieve some level of development similar the other countries. Chatteree agrees that, nations embracing the cultural practices from other nations, that is, nationalism ideology, are bound to remain dependent from these nations as long as they continue to embrace their ways of life. This is because nations copying other country’s ways of life will be forced to remain dependent; thus, behaving as slaves. Therefore, these countries will remain answerable to their masters making them less powerful in decision-making (Chatterjee, 2000).
According to Chatterjee, passive revolution is the main obstacle towards social change. Passive revolution aims at absorbing antithesis ideas to thesis to provide a synthesis. Thus, dominance in society will exist because new ideas aimed at changing the social structure are harmonized to make the society live in peace. This is the principle adopted in political where their opponents overpower revolution proponents. This is the principle demonstrated by Gandhism, which aims at enhancing capitalism in society.
Chatteree’s theory explains the existence of dominance in any society. This is because many societies do not embrace their own invention, but imitates what other societies make. This is the case where developing countries have failed to keep their tradition and cultural practices in favor of the western dominated ideologies. As a result, the developing countries are seen as a photocopy of the developed nations. For a country to remain proactive and to reduce the dominance, it should embrace its philosophy of nationalism. This will allow formulation of nationalism ideologies, which is consistent to the cultural practices of the nation; thus, making them unique and adopted in enhancing their position as a nation (Chatterjee, 2000). In addition, dominance in society will be dealt in accordingly if the antithesis overpowers the thesis ideologies.
In conclusion, it not possible to construct a society free from dominance as supported by the theorists. It is because of political, social, and economical differences that exist that tend to widen the gap of dominance in societies. Chatteree’s theory is the most efficient in outlining why there exists dominance in society.