Lecturer: Mrs. Alta vermeulen
Due date: 13 April 2018
Discuss Politics as power by explaining each of the ‘Faces ‘of Power that can be found in the real world .
I have read the ufs policy on the plagiarism as set out in the study guide and I am familiar with its contents and the department/university penalty clauses. I declare that the enclosed assignment is my own work, that I have acknowledge all my sources, and that I have not lent out my work to a fellow student.
Signature: V. Ntenjwa Due date: 13 April 2018
Table of content
2.1 politics as decision-making……………..3
2.2politics as agenda setting…………………4
2.3politics as thought control……………….5
3. Conclusion & Bibliography………………..6
right-60492Introduction: Politics as power
0Introduction: Politics as power
The aim of the research is about Politics is power in the real world and the methods used to prove this is the three Faces of Power, which are Politics as Decision making; Power as Agenda Setting and Power as Thought control. The three faces of power can also be called the three dimensions of power according to Stephen Lukes. Politics as power is the most radical and broadest definition of politics and sees politics as work in all social activities. It’s found in families, friends, communities, nations and globally.
Power as Decision Making
Power as decision making is the first of the three faces of power. It is also seen as the dimension, proposed by theorists such as Dahl who saw Power as a ‘relation among people’. It is when a single person can achieve compliance by others changing how they behave as a consequence of the power being exerted. It’s a system of ruling elites, with a few people having significant power. Power is about making decisions.
When government makes a decision, its seen as government power, they show their power by making laws. There is something called open face. This is when it is clear on who makes the decisions and why. This way is trusted and obeyed. Keith Boulding argues decision making in three ways; the stick (coercion), the deal (mutual benefit through negotiation) and the kiss (sense of loyalty and commitment to individuals.
Power as Agenda Setting
This is the second face of power is power as agenda setting. this is proposed by theorists such as Bachrach and Baratz, in 1962. This is about decisions being made within a complex system. Power is not just about making decisions but also setting the agenda that leads to decisions. Controlling the context can influence decisions.
Agenda setting is also a social science theory, it also attempts to make predictions. Agenda setting theory was formally developed by Max McCombs and Donald Shaw in a study on the 1968 American presidential election. A person or people who set the agenda control what will and will not be decided. Elites tend to dominate flow of information and media and use this to their advantages.
Marxists would argue agenda setting is a façade for bourgeois dominance with parliamentary systems of a government being “the executive committee of the bourgeoisie” (Marx).
An example would for Agenda setting would be if legislation against trade unions is planned, then a provocative rhetoric of how these unions cause problems may be started some time beforehand. Any union action then plays directly into the governments hands.
Power as Thought Control
The third face of Power is Power as Thought Control. This is the ability to manipulate human behaviour by shaping what he or she thinks, wants or needs.
Bourgeouisie control popular culture and so control the way we think life is better with materialistic things /goods so bourgeoise benefit even more.
This power is seen as Psychological control. Lukes in 2004 called this as ‘radical’ view of power. In politics power as thought control is seen in the use of propaganda and in the impact of ideology.
Yes, Politics is Power and can be found in the real world. We see examples of it happen every day in our societies. In Power as decision making it is mostly people in power or the elite that make decisions such as courts where a judge makes the decision if you are guilty or innocent. Then in Power as agenda setting an example would be parliament where the presiding officer comes with a certain agenda and only things in the agenda must be discussed. Then for Power as Thought Control we see examples where media creates a fixed idea of what is wanted and what is not. examples are sizes of women. they portray skinny women as perfect and fat women as obese and not normal.
Heywood,A.1997. Politics.4th ed .United States
McCombs,M ;Reynolds , A (2002). “News influence on our pictures of the world”.
Pamela,K ,2008. Powerful people make good decisions even when they consciously think.vol 19.12
http://changingminds.org/explanations/power/three faces.htmDahl, R.A(1957). The Concept of Power, Behavioural Science, 2,3,201-215
Bachrach, P and Baratz, M. (1962). Two faces of Power, American Political Science Review, 56, 947-52
Lukes, S. (1974). Power: A Radical View. London: Macmillan Press.