What Role Does Power Play in Politics?

Topics: Political philosophy, Aristotle, Politics Pages: 3 (1081 words) Published: April 11, 2013
What role does power play in politics?
This essay will argue that power, in its various forms, is the vital component for politics, because political policy mainly changes things through the use of power. Heywood (2004), suggests that politics is the process of decision-making, the allocation of scarce resources and the exercise of power and authority. The politics this essay will discuss is on a Formal level not on an individual one, and when referring to political systems this essay will be referring to British politics. In Britain, there are many powerful figures playing a role in politics, the Queen, media, businesses, trade unions and the Government. As the Queen’s power is mainly symbolic, her role in politics will be ignored, the three areas that will be discussed are the Government, media and businesses. The role power plays in politics is not easy to define, as Lukes (1986:1) argues, there are ‘various plausible answers’ to the question ‘what is power?’ And there are many definitions to the term politics. Dahl (1968) suggests that power is just one feature in politics, however, he contends that to understand politics we need to understand power. Russell argues that power is the ‘production of intended effects’ (Lukes 1986:19), whilst, Lukes contends that the effect of power does not necessarily have to be intended. This essay will use Russell’s definition of power, believing that within politics intentions are important. The Machiavellian approach to politics is the idea of the ‘stuggle for brutish advantage, hidden under a veil of euphamism’. (REF?) This idea brings up many issues that can be seen in modern British politics, the struggle for advantage in Britain has been seen simplistically as the struggle between Conservatives representing the upper classes and the Labour Party representing the working classes. Although, following ‘New Labour’ and recent changes in Conservative policy has led to each party becoming a politically more general...
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