Seminar Series 2014:
Power: An Essential Feature in Relationships
Power is the ability to influence- or sometimes force- people to behave in a certain way. People use power to prompt others into particular actions, while states use power in their international relations. The use of power does not need to involve coercion. Soft power is often used in statecraft, using neither force nor the threat of force, but using instead the power of cultural influence to encourage trade and tourists from other states. In this broad sense, power is an essential feature at work in every relationship.
One can influence others by inspiring, negotiating, persuading, manipulating, collaborating, dominating and even by disengaging. These are all power tactics. Power is the capacity for influence and that influence is based on the control of resources valued or desired by others. Outstanding ability in art, music and sports, for instance, can all be very powerful influences on other people. Power can also often be seen as organised collective action, and if abused it becomes a social evil.
How do people gain or lose power? The 2014 seminar series looks at power in various fields of human activity such as art, literature, sports, science, citizen action and journalism as well as statecraft. All of these forms of power can have a major influence on people’s lives.