What is Power? Discuss the instruments of Power


Power can be defined as the ability of an individual or group of individuals to modify the behavior of other individuals or groups in whatever way they want, and to prevent their behavior from being modified in such a way that It does not.

Power refers to a social connection between at least two actors. It cannot be an individual’s specialty. To say that a person has power does not mean anything unless it is indicated who has used that power. A person or group of people who holds power / can achieve others.

To do what they want to do. If those on whom power is exercised resist or refuse to obey the powerful, they are punished in one way or another. Power always leads to asymmetry in relationships. Who have more access to limited resources, for example, control

Finance, ownership or control of the means of production and / or distribution are more powerful than those who do not have the means or opportunity to control these resources. The use of sanction to enforce one’s will is an important component of power, and it is in this regard that power is distinct from influence.

Social power is a universal phenomenon in human societies and social relationships. It is owned by both individuals and social groups. In fact, it is the basic common element in all social, political and economic relationships. Social power is usually experienced in a state of imbalance. These power imbalances are the root cause of most social problems.

Power can be understood in two main ways. One way of understanding power that has gained prominence in recent academic discussion is that the idea of ​​power is a simple quantitative phenomenon. Such power acts in a sort of generalized capacity for conception of pins. The approach assumes that power enhances the abilities of those who possess it and thus affects those who do not take it as imposing on their freedom and liberty. The writings of Hobbes, Locke, others on the discourse of power can be considered under this general view. A second, more complex conception of power is one that implies both ability and authority, which is obtained with the consent of those on whom power is exercised. This approach analyzes the effects of power as they are generally identified in the context of “adverse conditions”. In other words, this approach puts the power in the hands of others that prevents their victims from doing what they would have otherwise accomplished, or “even thinking what they might think otherwise. ” Foucault’s power analysis is a good representative of this approach (Foucault et al 1980). This second concept of power is often more implicit than explicit. The concept matters a lot for today’s modern social and political thinking.

The concept of power is closely related to the concept of domination. Originally, power is essentially a sociopolitical concept, while dominance is a socio-psychological concept. In other words, power is located in groups and manifests in intergroup relations, while dominance is essentially situated in the individual and expressed in interpersonal relationships. Once again, power in states suggests that people remain in formal organization, while dominance is seen in the roles that people play in informal organization. Power is a function of the organization of unions, the ordering and exclusion of groups and the structure of society. Rather, dominance is a function of personality or temperament; This is a personal feature (Bierstedt, 1969). However, this difference in terms of sociological and psychological discourses, as well as the group’s vis-à-vis personality, does not necessarily have to be in a strict sense. Because today we generally talk about collective domination and hegemony and so on, we also talk about power. Relationship at interpersonal levels as well.

Instruments of Power

There are three main institutions or facilities that confer the right to use power. In other words, there are three means of exercising or applying strength. They are overwhelming or condensate, compensatory and conditional power. These three devices do not need to be tightly sealed. They overlap each other over each other. We will talk briefly with them before moving on to other aspects of power. Possessing coercive or tolerant power to threaten, intimidate, and / or inflict severe consequences on others. This includes any form of adverse action or power exercised as a threat, expulsion of resources or property, reprimand and conviction by any person or community. The process of such power takes place in a situation in which power is gained by attaining the subordination of others to release their potential or desires through ability.

Apply a choice to those preferences of the individual or group that are unpleasant or painful. We can understand strong power on two levels: first, a situation in which an individual or a group is going through a very painful experience, yet D will choose the actual situation, because the alternative presented is either better or even more Seems bad is experiencing at a certain time; Second, a situation in which an individual or group retreats

To take action against certain misunderstandings or refuse to say what he thinks and submit to condemn others for avoiding other guidelines. In other words, the individual or group only accepts the orders of others and will not speak due to imminent reprimand and harsh consequences which will be fatal to them.

Comparing Condign and Compensatory Power

The most distinguishing feature of compensatory power and compaction is its fairness or visibility. Those who accept the will of others know how to do so; They result in a fairly deliberate calculation that is the best course of action. This is due to its offering a specific Quid Pro Quo for its presentation. People in power also know what they are doing. The difference between condemnation and compensatory power is the difference between negative and positive returns. The power to condemn greatly intimidates a person, physically or emotionally, into something that he or she may give up or give preference to to avoid pursuing their own will. Compensatory power provides the person with a reward or payment that is beneficial or pleasurable in that he (or she) abandons the pursuit of one’s own preferences to seek the reward. In less abstract language, the power to condemn the promise of punishment or the presenting of benefits through reality; The vow of profit or the power that responds by reality wins.

Compensatory power achieves subjugation of others by offering affirmative action as a reward to an individual or group that presents for coercion. Economically, compensation in rural areas can be in various forms, such as payment paid or in cash for services, the right to work on a plot of land, or the owner’s right to share the produce of farms. In socio economic sector

And political sentiment, positive rewards, whether the economic package for development, among other things, is provided to certain communities or regions affected with socio-political unrest, be another example of retaliatory power in the modern situation Can. In the last two cases, which is the repressive force and the repulsive power, the individual or group is essentially aware of the presenter through compulsion and persuasion and / or induction.

The third instrument of power

Conditional power is subjective as opposed to condign and compensatory power (which is visible and objective). In this case, neither those who use power nor those who are subjected to it do not necessarily know about their exercise. This type of power is gained by changing the attitudes and beliefs of the individual or group. In this situation, an individual or group accepts the will of another or other because they feel that the initiative taken seems right through persuasion, education, social commitment, or promises. They submit to the initiative because they feel it is on a preferred course or track. In such a situation, submission is not necessarily recognized. Conditional power is, in fact, the most important and ubiquitous type of power for the functioning of modern society, as in the aspects of economics and politics, and also in capitalist and socialist countries.


Power is also used to guarantee opportunities in life. It operates in competition for the participation of valuable opportunities in life. This may be in the context of surviving the first year of life, maintaining good health, ensuring good opportunities for education and employment, and the possibility of living reasonably long lives. These precious life opportunities are important factors to control one’s fate.

Because they are qualities that contribute to enhance one’s ability to shape and control one’s position and role and one’s future.

Power manifests itself in various contexts, be it political issues, institutional paradigms, life-assurance opportunities, or personal relationships. The amount of power of an individual or group is not necessarily the same for different contexts. A person can be powerful and powerless in context In others.


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