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John Gaventa.docx

5 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 1100

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John Gaventa developed his three dimensions of power to address what he took to be certain limitations of actually existing democracies, especially to supposed pluralist democracy practiced in the USA. Gaventa wrote, “I had read the theories of democracy, about how victims of injustice in an ‘open system’ are free to take action upon their concerns, about how conflicts emerge and are resolved through compromises amongst competing interests” (p. v). In light of Gaventa’s concern about the limits of existing democracies where sharp inequalities of power exist between groups, as expressed in this remark and in his discussion of the three dimensions of power, explain the challenge that inequalities of power between groups in modern “democracies” presents to the realization of the following three of Dahl’s democratic criteria: effective participation, enlightened understanding, and control of the agenda. 1. effective participation  Everyone must have equal or effective opportunities to make their voices known 2nd dimensional view of power  Focuses on “why” of “non participation”  accumulative dimension mobilization of bias  when group A keeps winning, group B does not feel incentive to fight for rights anymore  B does not challenge A even though it goes against B’s Interest  When B expects A to always win, B will stop participating  A can also make it harder for B to participate ie. create laws  group B understand that they are not getting what they deserve but feels powerless  you cant only look at decision making to judge power because there is no longer full participation  power dynamics leads to acquiesce 3. enlightened understanding Pericles: "first among citizens" in Athens. Brilliant orator, great citizen. From Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War "Our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters; . . . and instead of looking on discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of action, we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all" (quoted on p
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