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2020 September
The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Sociology
Blackwell Wiley
In Press
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While there is no single uncontested definition of power, most agree that power entails actors having effects or capacities. Power is often equated to domination, but it is important to recognize that it can also be normatively desirable, as power‐to, and empowerment. Lukes has argued that there are three dimensions of power. The first corresponds to the agency of actors. The second involves the structural aspects of social relations. The third entails the tacit ideas, reifications, and hegemony that frame power structures. Building upon the work of Foucault, the creation of social subjects with self‐restraint suitable for control and interdependence can be regarded as a fourth dimension of power. These dimensions should be regarded singly only for analytical purposes. In real life, all four dimensions of power are found together, often each dimension reinforcing the other.
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