What Determines Who Has Political Power And Essay

What Determines Who Has Political Power, And How Much Of It They Have? Essay, Research PaperThere are many theories of power, and one important factor in finding who has political power is in specifying what political power really is.

Many concentrated on analyzing power relationships within communities: community power. Polsby related the impression of community power to & # 8220 ; determinations impacting big parts of the population of local communities & # 8221 ; and sees & # 8220 ; power & # 8221 ; , influence & # 8221 ; or & # 8220 ; control & # 8221 ; as the & # 8220 ; capacity of one histrion to make something impacting another histrion, which changes the likely form of specified hereafter events & # 8221 ; . Here so, power is to make with determinations.

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& # 8220 ; Who regulations? & # 8221 ; is correspondent to & # 8220 ; Who participates? & # 8221 ; or & # 8220 ; Who prevails in determination & # 8211 ; doing? & # 8221 ; . Power is embedded in determination & # 8211 ; doing so that it is held by those who make determinations that can impact the community in general. Person who involved in doing the cardinal picks determining a community have power in the sense that what they decide on alterations people & # 180 ; s lives and in this manner, these determination & # 8211 ; shapers have power or control over other people. This is typical of pluralist theories of power.

They focus their attending on the exercising of power, instead than its beginnings. Hunter, on the other manus, felt that there was dominant elite in the community, that power is concentrated in the custodies of a few. His might be called a & # 8220 ; stratification theory & # 8221 ; of power, where power is a & # 8220 ; subordinate facet of the community & # 180 ; s societal construction & # 8221 ; ( Polsby ) and the chief determiner of the distribution of power within a community is its societal stratification. Stratification surveies assert that communities are divided into categories. The upper category, or the group with the highest societal & # 8211 ; economic standing, hold the most power.

They are the & # 8220 ; power elite & # 8221 ; and can exert influence over a big figure of community determinations, therefore & # 8220 ; governing & # 8221 ; the local community. Hunter & # 180 ; s surveies, as he saw them, showed that Regional City in Atlanta was run by a little group of powerful work forces who were able to determine policies both informally and behind the scenes. Admission into the & # 8220 ; power elite & # 8221 ; here is determined about entirely on their place within the local concern community.

The economic elites Hunter positions as the power behind politicians. The uppermost political leaders, he says, are the work forces with the most of import economic connexions. Who these influential people are was determined by Hunter & # 180 ; s & # 8220 ; reputational method & # 8221 ; , inquiring a panel of Judgess who they felt to be the most powerful in the community.

While these people may be normally held by he community as holding the most influence and power, they seldom initiate or execute policies. These undertakings they delegate to those lower down in the power hierarchy or pyramid. There are many unfavorable judgments of the elitist attack. First, it is ill-defined whether Hunter & # 180 ; s reputational method can be wholly accurate. Peoples understand power in different ways. They see different people as powerful in different ways. It is improbable that everyone understands or knows the ways in which Hunter believes the economic elite to keep power over the community. Rise argues that the economic elite is so of import and really influential, but there are many other factors involved in the distribution of power in communities.

Harmonizing to Rose, there are several elites who are non united. While some have economic power, others have military, spiritual, political or association-based powers. Pluralists in general besides reject the elitists & # 180 ; basic premiss that there is a power construction in every human establishment reflecting the administration & # 180 ; s stratification. Such categorical premises about community power can non be made at all and it is dubious whether, basically, anyone dominates in a community. The inquiry so is non & # 8220 ; Who runs this community? & # 8221 ; but & # 8220 ; Does anyone run this community? & # 8221 ; Elitists besides assume that their power construction stays stable over clip. There is some kind of longitudinal stableness in that the same people hold the power over clip. The pluralists, nevertheless, argue that peculiarly where power is specifically linked to issues, it tends to be merely fleeting or, at best, semi & # 8211 ; lasting.

In add-on, there is a differentiation between reputed and existent power that the elitists ignore. A panel of Judgess may see one peculiar individual as being particularly powerful. Whether this individual really exercises their influence, nevertheless, is another inquiry. While elitists might assume that the members of their power elite are in fact involved in running the community, they may non be. Thus pluralists feel that theirs is far more & # 8220 ; scientific & # 8221 ; attack, based non on mere guess, but on seeable and specific empirical facts. The methodological analysis of the pluralists contrasts with the elitists in that they use instance surveies in their findings, dwelling in research that might be more anthropological or journalistic in character. They foremost distinguish between the modus operandi and the cardinal determinations that are made in a community.

Once they have determined which the & # 8220 ; cardinal & # 8221 ; or & # 8220 ; of import & # 8221 ; determinations are, they can happen out who was involved in the devising of these determinations, their function and the nature of their engagement during the determination & # 8211 ; doing procedure and, eventually, how they have affected the specific result. Once such pluralist is Dahl, who studied the distribution of power in New Haven, and discovered that there was no grounds of any one opinion elite, or one group ruling decision-making. Rather, he found that there were several groups, each with different involvements, who were able to act upon cardinal policy determinations. There is therefore no simple & # 8220 ; power elite & # 8221 ; and he rejects the economic elite statement. The pluralist theory of power is capable to many failings and is by no agencies absolute. One major weakness of the pluralists attack is in their finding of the & # 8220 ; cardinal & # 8221 ; or & # 8220 ; of import & # 8221 ; determinations that are made in a community.

It is ill-defined how anyone is to be able to objectively make up one’s mind what can and can non be classed as a determination or a policy that is & # 8220 ; I mportant”. Dahl has proposed a definition of key decisions as those where they involve an “actual disagreement in preferences among two or more groups”. Yet Bachrach and Baratz argue that it is not just the important decisions that involve disagreements. Many unimportant and trivial decisions can also be founded on basic and fundamental divergences in the preferences and interests of different groups. Thus it is difficult to say how there can be consistency between pluralists in their choices of key and routine decisions. Since this serves as the basis and the starting point of all their findings, this considerable flaw undermines their theory significantly. Domhoff argues against the pluralists in the way that they have no specific definition of the economic elite.

They neither specify nor describe the elite. Nor do they take account of the many ways in which economically powerful members of society are able to influence and involve themselves in politics. The predominance of the economic elite within the executive branch of the US government and in Congress is underemphasized in pluralist theories, through political campaign funds, for example. In this way, businesses do indeed play a large part in shaping domestic legislation.

Clinton?s health reforms regarding health insurance, for example, were defeated and many have attributed this failure to insurance companies in the US who were opposed to the reforms. In addition, the reliance of political parties on business for funding in the US means that they have to reflect the interests of the patrons in their policy decisions. Thus it is likely that the pluralists have indeed underplayed the role of the economic elite in politics. The power of the economic elite in the UK, however, may be quite different. In the UK there is not the reliance of the government and political parties on businesses and so they may be able to exercise less influence over politicians, and not act as the “power” behind political leaders. In addition, Bachrach and Baratz feel that the both the pluralists and the elitists have missed out on a crucial aspect of power that is “non-decision making”. This refers to the ability to limit the scope of what people can do. People can have power in the sense that they can have influence over what areas decisions are made in.

If someone can enforce rules or practices so that certain issues are rendered unfeasible or so that some issues are prevented from ever arising, they have power. They are not directly making decisions, but they are in some way deciding what happens even before the supposed decision – makers choose the ultimate outcome. Take the teacher who gives her pupils a choice. The pupils may think that they hold the power in this instance, but in reality the teacher holds the ultimate power. Pluralists cannot detect this form of power because it is very often invisible. When non-decision – making is at its most successful, it is impossible to even link the instigator to what happens. Lukes goes even further in his definition of power.

There are three faces of power, he says. The first is in participation in the decision-making process, the second in non-decision – making, and the third in shaping the preferences of others. To the extent that one may be able to change the values, interests and preferences of others so that the decisions they make may be affected, they can be said to hold power over these people. Someone, then, may hold power simply in their ability to manipulate the consciousnesses of other people.

By shaping their preferences, he is making them think in the way that he might want them to think, and thus controlling the decisions they may make. The difficulty with both the second and the third faces of power, however, is that they cannot be proven empirically. There is no way anyone can prove that anyone else has been manipulated, or that there is some invisible force behind it all that controls what happens. Though this is undoubtedly a weakness of some sort, the fact that this theory is based on speculation, however, and not empirical facts, as Bachrach and Baratz said, makes it no less valid. There are thus many different conceptions of power. Generally, it is the ability of one person to affect others and make them do things in a way that they might not have chosen.

According to the different theories, power is held variously by the economic elites of a community, different interest groups and several power elites. Thus what determines who has political power and how much depends very much both on how you go about doing the research, and also on how you define power. It is unlikely that there is any one group that holds all the power in any community. The power is distributed among many, some have more than others, but everyone has, to an extent, some power. The wider the definition of power, the more plausible this is. How much power they have, too, is determined by these factors. Influence can be both direct and indirect.

If one is to view power merely as participation in the decision – making process, one is limiting the studies to a very narrow approach. It is not only the politicians, nor the economic elite that may stand behind them, that hold political power. At the very least, each and every adult citizen has some influence, albeit indirect, over what choices are made through their ability to vote. In addition, communities are very different. People act differently in different societies. Because many of theorists have concentrated their studies on only one community, their theories may be applicable to that one community. There will inevitably be some distinctive features in that society, however, and these will have contributed to how power is distributed within it.

Thus it is very difficult to say decisively who ultimately has the power in any one community, nor how much of it they have. Power is held to some extent by even ordinary members of society, but to determine how much of it each individual or group may hold will depend on what areas one studies and which definition of power one holds.

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