Faces Of Power

2002 Words9 Pages
Q.1 You have been introduced to several definitions of power. How do the definitions help you understand power as you see it exercised in the world around you? Please give examples to illustrate your answer. The subject of power resists a single specific definition owing to its numerous manifestations within societies and throughout history. Fundamentally it can be understood as Bertrand Russell’s simple definition of ‘the production of intended effects’ (Russell, 1986:19) or as ‘the ability to achieve a desired outcome’ (Heywood, 2000:35) while the ability to influence behaviour is also considered as the power of A to get B to do something that B would not normally have done (Dahl, 1957). These definitions form part of Luke’s general concept of the ‘power to’ and the ‘power over’ (Lukes, 2005:69) actions, objects and people and a need for a deeper understanding arises when the ways in which power is exercised are analyzed. Steven Lukes (2005) divides power into three areas, or dimensions: power as decision-making, power as agenda setting and power as manipulating desires or thought control. Keith Boulding (1989:10) also defines three faces of power in what he calls ‘threat power, economic power and integrative power - the stick, the carrot and the hug’. This essay will begin with a focus on the exercise of power between the relationships people have with each other and with the structure of organizations using both Lukes, and to a lesser extent, Boulding’s definitions of power, looking to examples to evidence its forms. The relationship of power and legitimacy will also be considered, illuminating further ways in which power is exercised in the world around us. 1 The first of the three faces power is described by Lukes as decision-making, and involves consequences, in return for a specific action. Lukes see this as an overt form of power where people are
Open Document