Библиотека Михаила Грачева




Ледяев В.Г.

Власть: концептуальный анализ

М.: «Российская политическая энциклопедия» (РОССПЭН), 2001. – 384 с.


Красным шрифтом в квадратных скобках обозначается конец текста на соответствующей странице печатного оригинала указанного издания


Ledyaev V.G.




This is the Russian version of the book, recently published in America (Ledyaev V.G. Power: A Conceptual Analysis. – New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 1998, ISBN 1-56072536-2).

The book is about “power” as a social concept. It is based on classical and contemporary literature on power published mostly in UK and US.

The book consists of three parts. In the first part (“Major Problems in the Conceptual Analysis of Power”) I review basic views on power (Plato, Aristotle, T. Hobbes, M. Weber, B. Russell, H. Lasswell, R. Dahl, P. Blau, P. Bachrach and M. Baratz, S. Lukes, D. Wrong, G. Debnam, P. Morriss, T. Parsons, H. Arendt, M. Foucault). Then I suggest my vision of the conceptual analysis of power and its basic principles.

In the second part (“The Meaning of Power”) I discuss a set of key problems in defining power (the semantics of power, power and causation, actual/potential problem, the intentionality of power, the outcome of power, power and conflict, power and interests, resources and power, structure and power) and sort out defining properties of "power".

Basic forms of power are analysed in the third part of the book (“Types of Power”). Depending on the sources of the subject's submission to a powerholder's will, six basic forms of power are distinguished (force, coercion, inducement, persuasion, manipulation, authority). A second distinction is made between individual and collective power. Then I focus on the concept of political power and its defining properties.

I conceptualise power as the ability of a powerholder to achieve a subject's submission in accordance with the powerholder's intention. This is considered as a subcategory of causation with distinct properties and characteristics. [c.379]

“Power” is a dispositional concept; it refers to potential causation, to the ability to cause things to happen. Power is viewed as power over people (not power to do something); the outcome of a power relation is restricted to the subject's submission to the powerholder's will. Power is necessarily intentional, at least on the part of the powerholder. To have and exercise power the powerholder must be able to both have an effect on, and affect the subject's behaviour and/or consciousness.

The suggested definition of power is “broad” and “narrow” simultaneously. “Power” is broad enough to cover all forms of getting the subject to do something he would not otherwise have done. It can be exercised not only via threats and application of force, but also in the form of persuasion, manipulation, authority and influence by positive sanctions. Power does not necessarily assume conflict of preferences or interests between powerholder and subject, opposition and resistance from the part of subject and sanctions from the part of powerholder. On the other hand, the outcome of a power relation is restricted to the subject's submission to the powerholder's will. Thereby a clear distinction between the outcome of power and the consequences of power is provided.

Power is not exclusively a political phenomenon, it exists in all spheres of human life. There are six basic forms of power: force, coercion, inducement, persuasion, manipulation and authority. Power can be individual and collective. The concept of political power embraces all kinds of power relations in the political sphere. Political power (its outcome) is directly or indirectly bound to the operation of the state and government, but is not restricted to the decision-making process. It may be involved in all social relations and events that significantly affect the life of the community.

The concept of power proposed here can be generally referred to the mainstream tradition in conceptualising power which is associated with Weber, Dahl, Blau, Lukes, Wrong and other researchers who define power in terms of control over people. I disagree with those authors (Parsons, Arendt) who treat power exclusively as a collective capacity, [c.380] necessarily legitimised and contrasted to force and coercion. In my view, power can be both legitimate and illegitimate, it occurs in all kinds of human relations including inter-individual connections.

However, my conceptualisation of power substantially differs from the traditional view in two main respects. First, in contrast to Dahl, Bachrach and Baratz, Lukes, I do not consider that conflict (either of preferences or “objective interests”) and a “zero-sum” relationship between the powerholder and the power subject are necessary for power. Accordingly, the notions of asymmetry, opposition and resistance are not considered by me as defining properties of power.

Second, it also differs in the understanding of the outcome of power. I propose not just to limit an outcome of power by intended effects (consequences), as many authors suggest, but further specify it in terms of a subject's submission to the powerholder's will. This corresponds to an interpretation of power as power over people (not just as power to produce a particular effect) and allows us to distinguish the exercise of power from those actions against people's preferences (interests) which do not lead to their submission. By that, the outcome of power is not limited to the sphere of the subject's behaviour but relates to preference-shaping as well. So Lukes's “third face of power” (shaping of the subject's preferences, consciousness) has in fact been included in the meaning of power without defining a tie between power and interest (avoiding troubles accompanying this concept). This is probably my main contribution to the debates on power. [c.381]





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