Political scientists have generally treated power in one of two ways: either as power to do
something or as power over something:
This connotes the capacity to realize personal or collective goals or, being “empowered”. The
popular notion that, in democratic systems, power ultimately is in the hands of citizens conveys
the idea of “power to” realize social consensus and collective goals through democratic
institutions, such as fair elections. Political cynics believe this idea of “power to” is naïve,
arguing that people are led to believe that they can change political outcomes when things are
already determined by capitalist class.
Power to = B realizes they have empowerment.
(Example: fall of the Soviet Union)
This notion focuses our attention on inequalities in the distribution of power, as well as the
forces that hold regimes of inequality in place, The idea of “power over” reminds us that there
are forces outside our direct control that constrain and direct our actions, making us do things
that we would not do otherwise.
Power over: A has power to the extent that A makes B do something that B would not otherwise
do. A defeats B.
Tstee Faces of Power
1 : Ability to affect decisions. A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do
something that B would not otherwise do. Example: Syria
2 : Ability to ensure that issues are not raised. Power is exercised when A devotes his energies
to creating/reinforcing social and political values and institutional practices that limit the scope
of the political process to public cons