Social Power - Course Topics

This provisional list of topics for speakers and panelists covers all fields and applications of social power.

  1. Nature and types of social power

    1. What is society?
    2. What is social power?
    3. What forms does it take?
    4. What are the sources of power?
    5. How is power generated in society and magnified?
    6. How is social potential converted into effective power for accomplishment?
    7. How is power transferred from one form of social power to another?
  2. Human Relationships and Social Power

    1. How do human interactions and relationships create power?
    2. How is this power enhanced and curtailed?
    3. How do networking institutions such as the internet further enhance the generation, distribution and productivity of social power?
    4. What are the limits to the creative potential of human relationships?
    5. What can society do to maximize the positive power generated by our relationships?
  3. Formal centers of social power

    1. How does power become institutionalized in formal social organizations?
    2. What is the source of political power and how is it converted into institutions of governance?
    3. How is legal power generated by society and how does it grow?
    4. What is the relationship between legal power and the consent of the governed?
    5. What is the role of human rights in fostering the distribution of social power?
    6. How has society enhanced access and equitable distribution of power in recent centuries?
  4. Informal centers of social power

    1. What are the informal types and sources of social power?
    2. How has the development of transport, communications, computing and other technological advances enhanced the power of society and its individual members?
    3. How can the power generated by the media, news, television and cinema be more effectively utilized to promote individual and collective welfare and well-being?
    4. How can these informal centers of social power be utilized to enhance the overall capacities of individuals and groups in society?
  5. Knowledge as Power

    1. What is meant by the idea that knowledge is power?
    2. What are the implications of knowledge as power for individuals, governments, science and society?
    3. What is the role of education in the development and distribution of social power?
    4. What is the implication of knowledge power in the role of education in society?
  6. Freedom, Democracy and the Distribution of Power

    1. What is the relationship between freedom and power?
    2. What determines whether the possession and exercise of power is democratic or authoritarian?
    3. What is the relationship between the distribution of social power, social harmony and human welfare?
  7. Legitimacy & Legality

    1. What is the difference between authorized and unauthorized exercise of power?
    2. What is the role of illegitimate forms of social power?
    3. How are they created and managed?
    4. How does society mitigate and control the usurpation of power?
    5. What more can it do?
  8. Individuality & Social Power

    1. How does society empower and disempower individuals?
    2. How do values generate social power?
    3. What is the relationship between individual empowerment and social progress?
    4. What are the consequences for the emergence of competent and creative individuals?
    5. How do individuals become subordinated to money, technology, government and other sources of social power which they develop and utilize?
    6. What are the implications for the development of the collective?
    7. What can be done to further empower individuals to promote human welfare and well-being?
  9. Money and Power

    1. What characteristics make money a uniquely effective instrument for the inter-convertibility and exercise of social power?
    2. How do money and political power interact with one another?
    3. What are the remedies for the increasing concentration of wealth and power that constitute the basis for plutocracy?
    4. How can the wider distribution of money be used as a spur to more rapid and equitable social development?
  10. Global Social Power

    1. What is the source of power at the international level?
    2. How is global power allocated and distributed?
    3. How is the allocation and distribution of power changing internationally and what are the forces behind the change?
    4. How do nation-states stake their claims to global power through national sovereignty?
    5. How do international organizations and civil society foster the sovereignty of humanity?
    6. What measures can be undertaken to further the distribution of social power to nation states, the human community and individuals at the global level?
  11. Strategies for equitable distribution of social power

    1. What would be the consequences of an equitable distribution of power in society?
    2. How can it be achieved?