What is Political Power?
The concept of power in the political and social world is the exertion of influence, forced or willing on a society and its subjects either to add value or exploit the territory. In close definition of the function of power are the perspectives of the authority and the subjects. The two parties involved dictate the legitimacy, type and structure of power. Common forms of power in the contemporary world follow a legitimate and willingness approach, while other sections of the world are still under the arrests of coerced power. All types of power describe three faces of power utility; decision-making role, thought control and agenda setting. These faces are vital to decipher the manifestation of authoritarians over their subjects and the methodology of power exercise. The commonality of the decision-making role as a face of power more most political leaders proves to be a great feature of understanding and differentiating expressions of power from materialization of power as an intangible political asset.Decision-making as a face of power was initially introduced in the 17th century by Thomas Hobbes. He idealized that political power took a toll on political leaders willing to attain self-interests while compromising the societal state of the subjects under the terminologies of the ‘Agent’ and the ‘Patient’. The former manipulates ‘the patient’s’ behavior to satisfy his or her interests (Heywood, 111).
Asserting that political leaders are ‘the agents’ and citizens ‘the patients’, most of the decision in this face or power are made against the will of the people. Implementation of such decisions ignored or disrespects the rights of the subjects and if not contended, could follow an easy incorporation into the lives of the citizens. However, due to the democratic nature of most nations, citizens with representation from human rights and civil societies, engage in a political warfare that determines the success of the policy implementation.With such dependency notions, decision making is largely impacted by the structure of the ruling elite and their prevalence or influence compared to the ruled. This is a revision of Hommes proposition to the ‘Ruling Elite Model’ by Robert Dahl.
According to Dahl (145), power in this face ought to be defined by the structure of the ruling elite. It should not be assumed that since a certain nation influences others, it should definitely determine what policies are to be enacted. Instead, understanding the founding principles of the ruling elite could offer more insight on the type of conflicts of interest to be anticipated in any decision-making process. Another assumption of power under the Dahl’s model is that it delineates the preferred decisions that a ruling elite wishes to implement over the interests of the subjects. There are always political decisions that are contrary to the beliefs and guiding principles of citizens. Identifying these issues allows members to derive the type of leadership and power influence its leaders use to effect policies. The final tenet of the Dahl’s proposed model is that the decisions made by the ruling elite …