Wright Mills is often referred to as the founder of modern conflict theory. This theory was first spearheaded by Karl Marx commonly known as the father of social conflict. Social conflict is one of the four paradigms of sociology. According to Mills, social structures are developed by means of conflict through people with differing interests and access to resources.
In terms of sociology, power is simply the ability to influence the behaviour of people or groups of persons. The term authority is used to perceive that power that is viewed as legitimate. There are four primary foundations of power. These are ideological, economic, military and political pedigree. No source of power comes before the other or is more important than the other. Each one has none the less caused the existence of the other in one way or the other.
The Chinese Communist Party gave its female citizens avenues to power by seeking to strengthen them economically. Marxists argued that the path to freeing women from the domestic yoke depended on allowing them to lay the foundations of their independence and joining the labour force as waged labourers. In line with this the state announced that they would be creating social and welfare platforms that women woluld need to disengage themselves from being tied down solely by domestic responsibilities.
In a bid to address the social equality for women the Chinese Communist Party took a bold move to address the age old marriage practices in China. Women were freed from the oppressions of the feudal system through the scrapping of the feudal marriage system which was subsequently by legally and state recognized monogamy. The feudal marriage system was an arranged kind of marriage. Unions would not be decided by a young couple’s love but what their respective parents desired.
The Chinese Communist Party also sought to address the political inequality and strived to address to give its lady citizens power by giving green lights to international forums related to them. In 1995 for instance, Beijing hosted the Fourth UN Conference on Women. This was a major boost to the Chinese women’s movements as it was a major power boost for them.
In the times of Emperor Mao’s rule of the Chinese people the was a gulf in class and privilege depending on ones gender. This was further highlighted by the ensuing class struggles that completely denied the needs of the Chinese women. The state further continued in this set path and failed to fulfill its promises to its women and continued with policies that were gender neutral and leaning towards male standards.
In conflicting view of what the Chinese Communist Party set out to achieve in terms of gender equality, they have out rightly rejected feminism. Feminism is a movement which strives to establish equal political, economic and social rights for women as enjoyed by men. Their sole and primary reason for the rejection of feminism is because the state sees it as a child of western individualism. The bitterness the Chinese government harbors towards the west, leads to social stagnation in terms of women’s rights.
Despite all this, the women of China know that further political and economic empowerment are in line to come. With such legislation as prohibitation of sexual harassment in China since 2005 and revision of marriage and succession laws to favor women it is just a matter of time since we see the “New China.”
C. Wright Mills (1956) Power, Craftsmanship and Private Troubles and Public Issues. Message posted to http://infeds.org/mobi/c-wright-mills-power-craftsmanship-and-public-issues/
George R. J. S (2013). Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots
Giddens, A., & Sutton, P. W. (2010).Sociology: Introductory readings. Cambridge: Polity.