Dizionario di Politica

Authors: Bobbio, Matteucci, Pasquino
Summary: In this entry of about 7838 words, the author starts with the definition of the concept in a social sense and consequently also in a sense more related to political science.
The entry analyses the Hobbes and Gumplowicz idea of power and the author suggests that the possession of means is not the only factor which determines power. Power is especially a relationship among individuals which can be exercised also by using particular means.
As a social phenomenon, there could be a potential power - which refers to the possibility of determining behaviours of other people - and a real power - namely, the effectively exercised power. The first one is a relation among attitudes, which can determine stable or institutionalized power relationships. The second one is a relation among behaviour which can yield manipulative behaviours.
The entry goes on with an overview of different ways of exercising power: persuasion, manipulation, coercion, threat of sanctions, and promises of rewards.
The author also remarks that in political science the concept of power has been heavily investigated and he underlines some classical studies of power, namely the Weber's one, the Lasswell's one and the Parsons' one.
At the end, the entry emphasizes that the several methods used for the study of power have not produced so far a good theory to understand the real distribution of power in society.