Compare and Contrast of the Three Faces of Power Essay

Compare and Contrast of the Three Faces of Power Essay

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Some theorists believe that ‘power is everywhere: not because it embraces everything, but because it comes from everywhere… power is not an institution, nor a structure, nor possession. It is the name we give to a complex strategic situation in a particular society. (Foucault, 1990: 93) This is because power is present in each individual and in every relationship. It is defined as the ability of a group to get another group to take some form of desired action, usually by consensual power and sometimes by force. (Holmes, Hughes &Julian, 2007) There have been a number of differing views on ‘power over’ the many years in which it has been studied. Theorist such as Anthony Gidden in his works on structuration theory attempts to integrate basic structural analyses and agency-centred traditions. According to this, people are free to act, but they must also use and replicate fundamental structures of power by and through their own actions. Power is wielded and maintained by how one ‘makes a difference’ and based on their decisions and actions, if one fails to exercise power, that is to ‘make a difference’ then power is lost. (Giddens: 1984: 14) However, more recent theorists have revisited older conceptions including the power one has over another and within the decision-making processes, and power, as the ability to set specific, wanted agendas. To put it simply, power is the ability to get others to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do. In the political arena, therefore, power is the ability to make or influence decisions that other people are bound by.
Before, the three faced/dimensions of power are discussed it is important to know that the first face of power has a pluralist standpoint. Pluralistic views believe that political p...

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...le at: [Accessed: 21 Mar 2014]. 2014. Hegemony and invisible power | Understanding power for social change | | IDS at Sussex University. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 23 Mar 2014].

S. Lukes, 1974, Power: A Radical View ed.1, Macmillan: London.

Stewart, A. 2001. Theories of power and domination. London: SAGE.

Theory and Decision 8 (1977) Reidel publishing company, Dordrect- Holland. 2014. Pluraism. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Mar 2014].

VeneKlasen, Lisa and Miller, Valerie (2002) A New Weave of Power, People and Politics: The Action Guide for Advocacy and Citizen Participation, Oklahoma City, World Neighbors.

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