Luke's Three Dimensions Of Power



"Power serves to create power. Powerlessness serves to re-enforce
powerlessness"(Gaventa,1980:256). Such is the essence of the on going
relationship between the Powerful and the Powerless of the Appalachian Valley
where acquiescence of the repressed has become not only common practice but a
way of life and a means of survival. In his novel Power and Powerlessness, John
Gaventa examines the oppressive and desperate situation of the Appalachian coal
miners under the autocratic power of absentee land-owners, local elites, and
corrupt union leaders. His analyses is based on Lukes three-dimensional
understanding of power from his book Power: A Radical View. Gaventa applies the
three ...

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and their
applicability to Gaventa's account of the inequities found in the valleys of the
Cumberland Mountains. Reasons for the mountain people's submission and non-
participation will be recognized and their nexus with the power relationship
established. In this way, Gaventa's dissatisfaction with the pluralist approach
will be justified and the emphatic ability of the other two dimensions to
withhold issues and shape behaviour will be verified as principal agents of
Power and Powerlessness.

The one dimensional view of power is often called the 'pluralist'
approach and emphasizes the exercise of power through decision making and
observable behaviour. Robert Dahl, a major proponent of this view, defines
power as occurring in a situation where "A has power over B to the extent he can
get B to do something that B would not otherwise do"(Dahl as cited in Lukes,
1974:11). A's power therefore is defined in terms of B and the extent to which
A prevails is determined by its ...

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become organized, and everyone has indirect
influence through the right to the franchise in the electoral process.
Pluralism recognizes a heterogeneous society composed of people belonging to
various groups with differing and competing interests. Conflict is therefore
also recognized as not only an expected result but as a necessary instrument
which enables the determination of a ruling class in terms of who the winner is.
Dahl,(as cited in Lukes,1974:18) states:

Who prevails in decision-making seems the best
way to determine which individual and groups have
more power in social life because direct conflict
between actors presents a situation most ...

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Added: 10/18/2005 02:26:31 PM
Category: Government
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