What is Power in Government Studies? – Definition, Types & Sources
Definition of Power
The ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way.
In other words, Power is the capacity to affect another’s behaviour by the threat of sanction.
The sanction may be negative other positive. Thus, a political leader may have the ability to control the actions of others by promising those who oppose him.
However, sanctions are used if there is non-compliance.
Forms of Power
There are various types and forms of power, in which few are listed below;
The elected President or Prime Minister of a state possesses political power. It’ is the power derived from the people and the constitution.
An individual in possession of economic resources could use such to influence issues in a state. He can also command respect and has the ability of controlling people’s emotions, actions etc.
The armed forces, army, navy and airforce control the instruments of violence in a country. These instruments can easily be manipulated to overthrow a civilian government and for the defence of the state against external aggression.
It’s the application of force in compelling obedience. The outcome of this application could bring discomfort other even disastrous end.
The Acquisition and Exercise of Power
Sources of Political Power
The list below are the various sources of Political Power;
The Constitution specifies how powers should be acquired and how it should be exercised. Through elections, power held by the people is transferred to a body called government.
Power may be acquired through the use of force, e.g. the military. Most developing countries in Africa, Latin America ext have experienced change of government through coup d’etat.
Power can be acquired through intelligence or a person’s charisma.
The Economic Resources
This may include money and property. An individual can acquire political power and comment the respect of other people.
Through Position of Authority
Authority and power are complementary. So, position of authority confers power on the person exercising it.
This is based on the. Hereditary and it mostly with the royal family. Powers are acquired, the the kingship or queenship is vacant.