What is Power?

Power is a fundamental term in the political and philosophical literature. However, despite, or perhaps due to, its vast use, there is no single, universally consented understanding of the term.

The article, Power: Over, To or With? presents a brief review of different understandings of power among philosophers and political thinkers. Three major senses of the term, i.e. “power-over”, “power-to” and “power-with”, are explained. After a short discussion of the reasons for the variation of understandings, the article concludes by asserting power-to as the most comprehensive sense of the term. According to Rethinking Power by Amy Allen, this sense can be simply defined as:

The ability or capacity of an actor or set of actors to act.

This is the abstract of the article. You can read it in full here.

Photo credit: Pooya

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