Introduction to Political Science II
Power , Authority & Legitimacy
Definition of Power
•In the natural sciences: ‘force’ or ‘energy’.
•In the social sciences:
A) the ability to achieve a desired outcome,
sometimes referred to as power to.
B) a relationship as the exercise of control by one
person over another, or as power over.
Steven Lukes’s Definition in Power: A Radikal
if A gets B to do something A wants but
which B would not have chosen to do,
power is being exercised.
•In other words, power is the ability to get
someone to do what they would not
otherwise have done.
•But Lukes’s distinctions are nevertheless of
value in drawing attention to how power is
exercised in the real world, to the various
ways in which A can influence B’s behaviour.