Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sources of political power


      The persons who are at any point the rulers do not  personally possess the power of control, administration , and repression that they wield . How much power they possess depends on how much power society will grant them. Six of these sources of political power are;                                   

  (1)Authority:  This may also be called legitimacy. It is the quality that leads people to accept a right of persons and groups to lead, commaned, direct, and be heard or obeyed by others. Authority is vol-untarily  accepted  by the people and therefore is present without the imposition of sanctions (or punishments). The authority  figures  need  not necessarily be actually  superior. It is enough that the person or group be perceived and accepted as superior. While not identical with power,authority is clearly a main source of power. 

(2)         Human resourse:   The power  of rulers is affected by  the number of persons who obey them,  cooperate with them , or provide them with special assistance , as well as by the proportion of such assisting  persons in the general population,  and the extent and forms of their organizatins.

              (3)  Skills and knowledge:  The rulers’ power  is affected by the skills, knowledge and abilities of such  cooperating  persons, groups, and institutions, and the relation of their skills, knowledge , and abilities to  the rulers’ needs.

  (4) Intangible factors:  Psychological and ideological factors, such as habits and attitudes toward obedience and submission, and the presence or absence of a  common faith, ideology, or sense of mission, contribute to the rulers’ power.

             (5)  Material resources:  The degree to which the rulers control property, natural resources, financial resources , the economic  system, communication and transportation, and the like, helps to determine the extent or limits of the rulers’ power.

(6)  Sanctions:    These have been described as  “an enforcement of obedience ” . The type and extent of sanctions,  or punishments, at the rulers’ disposal, both for use against their own subjects  and in  conflicts with other rulers, are a major source of power. Sanctions are used by rulers to supplement    voluntary acceptance of their authority and to increase the extent of obedience to their commands. The sanctions may be violent or nonviolent. They may be intended  as punishment or deterrence against future disobedience. Violent  domestic sanctions , such as  imprisonment   or execution, are commonly intended to punish disobedience or to prevent it in the future, not to achieve the objective of an original command. Military sanctions may be intended for defense or deterrence against foreign  enemies or for combating strong internal opposition.

      The presence of some or all of these six sources of power at the disposal of the rulers is always a matter of degree. Only rarely are all of them completely available to rulers, or completely absent .

                 Power relationships similar to those in political societies  with state structures exist in order hierarchical institutions as well , which also derive their power from the cooperation of many persons and groups. Consequently various forms of dissent , noncooperation and  disobedience  may have important roles to play  when members  of such institutions  have grievances  against the people who direct or control those institutions.


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