Re: Power <debate> <long>

Thomas Brunton (brunton@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Wed, 6 Mar 1996 12:51:25 -0500

On Tue, 5 Mar 1996, Ralph L Holloway wrote:

> On Wed, 6 Mar 1996, John McCreery wrote:
> > What, then, is power? To me it is simply this--the ability to
> > overcome resistance.
> I think I would offer a somewhat different definition of power than John
> does. I would define power as the ability to deny something that a person
> or group wants. That ability may be carried out without force, and most
> often is. You only have power over me to the extent you can deny me
> something that I want. It may or may not be coupled with control, which I
> take to be a different concept.
> Ralph Holloway

Another definition of power (or the origins of power) from Lewis Binford _In
Pursuit of the Past_ p.220

"power starts when one can renege on a social relationship with impunity."

This is part of a discussion of the evolution of social complexity - big
men, redistribution etc. I don't necessarily agree with it but it is an
interesting idea.

Tom Brunton
SUNY at Buffalo

P.S. sorry if this was sent twice, I got an error message the first time.