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Politics and Power

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  1. Politics and Power

  2. OPPOSING VIEWS,pair 1 A narrower view: politics as the art and science of GOVERNMENT, as affairs of STATE vs. A broader view: politics as part of the entire fabric of SOCIAL RELATIONS – conflicts and cooperation between individuals, groups, classes

  3. OPPOSING VIEWS,pair 2 INTEGRATION. Politics as the process of rule based on order and justice. Politics is driven by the considerations of the common good. More natural for the thinking of those who support the existing social order (status quo) vs. CONFLICT. Politics as struggle for power. Politics is driven by selfish interests of individuals and groups. More natural for the thinking of those who would like to change the status quo in their favour.

  4. NOT “EITHER… OR…”, BUT “BOTH… AND…” 1. State AND society The state is rooted in society. The state maintains a particular social order. Politics outside the state is important. Interactions between state and society are at the core of politics. 2. Integration AND conflict


  6. POLITICS IS: A HUMAN ACTIVITY focused on: 1/ the FORMULATIONand EXECUTION of: DECISIONS, which are BINDING on members of: A SOCIAL WHOLE (family, community, society, the world) – and: 2/ the RELATIONS which are formed between individuals, groups, states IN THE PROCESS of formulation and execution of those decisions. • See Larry Johnston’s Politics, Broadview Press, 1998, p. 16

  7. Maurice Duverger, The Idea of Politics: “In the last resort, the essence of politics, its real nature and true significance, is to be found in the fact that it is always and at all times ambivalent. The statue of Janus, the two-faced god, is the true image of the state and expresses the most profound of political realities…

  8. Janus

  9. “The state – and in a more general way, organized power in any society – is always and at all times both the instrument by which certain groups dominate others, an instrument used in the interest of the rulers and to the disadvantage of the ruled, - and also a means of ensuring a particular social order, of achieving some integration of the individual and the collectivity for the general good…

  10. “The two elements always co-exist, though the importance of each varies with the period, the circumstances, and the country concerned…

  11. “The relations between conflict and integration are, moreover, complex. Every attack on the existing social order implies the image of a superior, more authentic order. Every conflict implies a dream of integration and represents an effort to bring it into being…

  12. Many thinkers maintain that conflict and integration are not two opposed faces but one and the same overall process in which conflict naturally produces integration, and divisions, by their development, tend naturally toward their own suppression leading to the coming of the city ofharmony.” The Idea of Politics, L.: Methuen, 1966, p.viii

  13. The word politics comes from ancient Greece. Its root is the word polis, which began to be used about 2,800 years ago to denote a self-governing city • POLIS – city-state • POLITES – citizen • POLITIKOS – politician • POLITIKE – politics as the art of citizenship and government • POLITEIA – constitution, rules of politics • POLITEUMA – political community, all those with full political rights (excludes women, slaves, and foreign residents) For more information on polis, go to: Polis

  14. The Acropolis, Athens

  15. There is a city called Polis in the northern part of the Island of Cyprus: • http://www.polis-municipality-cyprus.com/

  16. Power The fuel of politics. The ability to make, or to influence the making of, those binding decisions Struggle for power Distribution of power: how fair? how equal? how effective? Balance of power Great power, superpower, hyperpower A powerful leader Something you can measure?

  17. “…Power is the ability to affect the actions or ideas of others, despite resistance. It is thus a dynamic process, not a static possession, that pervades all areas of social life”. • (from Marvin Olson and Marvin Marger, Power in Social Organizations) • “Power, in one useful sense, is a relation between two or more human wills, in which one will can for some purposes effectively control the other will or set of wills. The idea of control implies the possibility of freedom from control (of independence), and hence of regret at loss of independence (at succumbing to alien control). • (John Dunn, The Cunning of Unreason. Making Sense of Politics, Basic Books, 2000, p.75)

  18. INFLUENCE – use of power (or power exertion) with an uncertain outcome • CONTROL – use of power with a more or lesscertain outcome • DOMINATION – structured, stable patterns of power

  19. TYPES OF POWER POLITICAL POWER – control of, or influence on, the state, ability to make, or influence, political decisions ECONOMIC POWER – control of economic assets MILITARY POWER – ability to wage war – or to compel others through intimidation or deterrence These forms of power interact in many ways. GIVE ME EXAMPLES!

  20. Characteristics of power 1. AN INTERACTIVE PROCESS (you have to have someone to have power over) 2. POTENTIAL or ACTIVE 3. A PURPOSEFUL ACTIVITY 4. PROMOTIVE (Do it!) or PREVENTIVE(Don’t do it!) 5. BALANCED or UNBALANCED(“Absolute power corrupts absolutely” – Lord Acton). Democracy (ideally) as balanced power

  21. Forms of Social Power 1. FORCE – ability to compel through punishment or reward 1/utilitarian – “let’s make a deal, or else…” 2/coercive – “you are under arrest” 3/persuasive – “it is really in your own interest to obey” 2. DOMINANCE – ability to compel on a regular, systematic basis. “They have the power, we can’t do anything but obey”

  22. 3. AUTHORITY – power that is seen as just and lawful. Power which is voluntarily granted by those who submit to it. LEGITIMATEpower TYPES OF LEGITIMACY(Max Weber, Politics as a Vocation) TRADITIONAL – based on tradition, established beliefs or values (example: rule of dynasties, power of the church) LEGAL-RATIONAL – based on formal arrangements (rules, laws, constitutions). The main type practiced in contemporary politics CHARISMATIC*– based on the extraordinary personal qualities of a leader, or on the influence of an idea or a cause *from ancient Greek word “charisma”, meaning “gift”

  23. 4. ATTRACTION – the power of appeal, ability to influence others by making a positive impression on them.

  24. Information as a power resource • “Knowledge is power” – Francis Bacon • From the printing press to the Internet • The Information Revolution • The Information Age • The new role of information in our lives – in our economy, social relations, politics – as a result of rapid development of ICT (information and communication technologies) in the past 3 decades

  25. Access to information • Management of information • Control of information • Controlling people through their minds • Values, ideas, the daily information flow • Religion, education, propaganda, mass media • The power of discourse • The information battleground: how controllable are we? • Can you fool all the people all the time?

  26. EXERCISE OF POWER • 1. POSSESSING or having ACCESS to RESOURCES • -tangible, like money, property, goods, people, weapons, • -or intangible, like information, skills, roles, legitimacy, reputation, appeal • 2. COMMITTING resources to a particular situation • 3. CONVERTING committed resources into power action • 4. OVERCOMING RESISTANCE

  27. SO, WHERE DOES POWER COME FROM, ULTIMATELY? • Mao Zedong: “Political power comes from the barrel of a gun” • The Bible: “The power that worketh in us” • Power is produced by social cooperation. Ultimately, it is a collective product. We create power by acting together. • The problem is that this product is usually grabbed by the few and used at the expense of, or downright against, the many.