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Models of Power

In Plumwood's power system of Dualisms, she separates the hierarchy of power into two separate groups she likes to refer to as the master and the slave. She makes the distinction that a dualism is different from a dichotomy because in a dichotomy there is a difference between two things but there is no valued judgement attached to that difference. In a dualism there is a value judgement that says that one group of people is inherently better than another because of their differences. She breaks the logic of a dualism and how they are constructed into neat little categories that allow us to understand them in a rational way. Denial, exclusion, incorporation, instrumentalism, and homogenisation. Plumwood's model of daulistic power defines the norm as the group who's values and characteristics are imposed upon another group as a way to define them. She says that 'it is the slave who makes the master a master, the colonized who make the colonizer, the periphery which makes the center.' This means that the group is taken and broken very mathematically to create a 'normal' to best describe the group as a whole. This is similar to drawing a circle to represent the continuous distribution of characteristics in a group and then saying that the average value of the group lies at the center of the circle. This means that gender plays into the idea of a duality because men are accorded more power and positions in society than women and the only reason is because that is how it has 'always' been. This fact limits how we perform gender by telling women that they have a certain way that they should act and lumping them all together even though some might be more masculinly inclined than others. The duality also makes it seem as though men and women are different species because of the way that they are separated and objectified. We can't escape Plumwood's notion of dualism because the way that we are brought up to think reinforces the definition of dualism. Men are accorded more power than women who are seen merely as tools or objects to fulfill men's needs.