Power (social and political)

Written By: Ehsan Jahandarpour

In social science and politics, power is the capacity of an individual to influence the actions, beliefs, or conduct (behaviour) of others. The term authority is often used for power that is perceived as legitimate or socially approved by the social structure, not to be confused with authoritarianism. Power can be seen as evil or unjust; however, power can also be seen as good and as something inherited or given for exercising humanistic objectives that will help, move, and empower others as well. Abraham Maslow notes that “in the hands of the immature, vicious, or emotionally sick, power is a horrible danger.” In general, power is derived by the factors of interdependence between two entities and the environment. The use of power need not involve force or the threat of force (coercion). A