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Lecture

Power and Sovereignty


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL 1102
Professor
Pierre Martel

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Power
-In a strict sense: the ability to act (I can).
-Connection with assertiveness (Giddens) and free will (who I am).
-Ability to act is determined by choices made, direction (I choose).
-In social relationships terms, power focus for political science: the ability to mobilize resources by
setting a direction (Montbrial).
Power to do: empowerment, autonomy.
Power over: rule, control, constraint.
-At the international level, right to self-determination for the peoples: the ability to decide and act by
and for oneself.
Power as a Force (Might, Puissance)
-One of the central categories in International Relations, particularly for the realism school.
-For Weber: possibility to “triumph”, to have your own way in a social relationship by your own will.
-Not in absolute terms but interactions.
Two Dimensions
-Positive: Ability to do and to make others do.
-Negative: Ability not to do and to prevent others to do.
Power Factors
-Geography
-Natural Resources
-Industrial, Technological Capacity
-Finance
-Economy
-Military and State of Readiness
-Population
-Education
-For the longest time it was mostly based on military.
-Today, Military is important no doubt, but may be questioned as the sole and prime factor.
-Factor weight varies and must be assessed in context (interdependence).
-Economic globalization as a transforming force.
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