Structure of Power

1868 Words8 Pages
Absract: The debate is whether one society can truly have one structure of power that lasts over time and this essay will agree with the pluralists, that power is ever-changing and elite domination can at best only be fleeting and temporary. However, this essay will also argue that this is not just down to the issue of power, but elite domination is also a flawed theory, in that history shows it fails in practice. It should be made clear that there is no universal understanding of pluralism and therefore it is difficult to generalise all pluralists as having one understanding of the definition of pluralism. The same can be said for power; Walter Gallie (1956) describes power as an “essentially contested concept.” Gallie means that different thinkers cannot agree on one particular definition of power. However, for the purpose of this essay I will be using the definition that government can only have true, legitimate power when it has the support of its people. First this essay will evaluate the meaning of power and pluralism, how the use of interest groups makes power easily adaptable. Then I will evaluate elitism and how it fails to last as a structure of power by itself making it at best only fleeting and temporary. Pluralists believe that no structure of power is stable over time as there is no single, correct way to govern; different frameworks will work at different periods of time and for different nation states. There is no “single unified and universal body of knowledge” in pluralism (Hay, 2006; 21). Pareto believed that elitism is essential to a society as only competent elites can govern the people who are controlled by their own irrational emotions (Pareto, 1916). However, while many argue that there is evidence of eli... ... middle of paper ... ...s of Democracy. revised second edition. Cambridge: Polity Michels, R. (1911 [1962]) Political Parties. New York: Free Press Mosca, G. (1896 [1939]) The Ruling Class. New York: McGraw Hill Pareto, V (1935) The Mind and Society. London: Harcourt Brace and Company. (First published 1916.) Pareto, V. (1991) The Rise and Fall of Elites: An Application of Theoretical Sociology. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers Rhodes, R. (1997) Understanding Governance. Milton Keynes: Open University Press Rosenau, J. N. (1992) ‘Governance, Order and Change in World Politics’, in J. Rosenau and Czempiel, E. O. (eds), Governance with Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Schattschneider, E.E. (1960) The Semi-Sovereign People. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston Brownson, O. (2005) The American Republic: Its Constitution, Tendencies and Destiny New York: P. O’Shea
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