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April 23, 2018 / C H Thompson

Types of power in society

  • Lukes identified three types of power in society
  • The first face of power is winning the argument (media arguments for example) over an issue. For example who has won the argument over whether Jeremy Corbyn would make a good Prime Minister
  • His second face of power is the ability to set the agenda in society. Setting the agenda is the ability to decide what is to be discussed. For example when politicians meet to discuss whether or not to build nuclear power stations or wind-turbines, has the decision already been made. For example will newspapers have already made their mind up as to what they want and politicians are scared of contradicting them
  • Lukes’ third face of power is known a radical view of power.
  • Lukes argues power is at its most dangerous when you can’t see it in action (you can see the first and second face in action)
  • Lukes third face of power argues those groups with power exercise it by empowering people (giving people power). The catch is ideology means people are often empowered to make decisions but Lukes’ argues individual decisions are laden with ideologies. The question is, is the media responsible for communicating ruling-class ideologies, as Marxists suggest? If so it means means there’s no such thing a pluralism.

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