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Important note: it is a sub-topic of the 'competing approaches to the study of IR topic',
meaning that competing approaches should be addressed in terms of how they discuss power.
Weber: power is 'the opportunity to have one's will prevail within a social relationship'
Analysing power requires very specific analysis that is case by case, there is no universal index for measuring power
If we were to measure power based on how well states achieve their outcomes, this is difficult because it is based on the assumption that states have complete consensus in their motivations - states instead have very broad guidelines
Power under classical realism is set up with a narrow view, power = military capability
Understandings of power:
o Classical Realism - Morgenthau on power: 'Power may comprise anything that establishes and maintains the control of man over man. Thus, power covers all social relationships which serve that end, from physical violence to the most subtle psychological ties by which one mind controls another.'
o Fallacy of the single factor
Hard vs. soft power:
o Hard: using material capabilities to get other states to do what you want
Soft: using ideas, identities and values to get other states to do what you want
Changing power dynamics:
o Syria, Ukraine, North Africa, South East Asia: America forced to adapt to will of the
EU and China, as well as Russia, can't just unilaterally exert influence, globalisation has collided with this
Rising powers: Russia, China and India, veto players but do not have agenda-setting power (Narlikar), they strive for agenda other institutions bring. Eg. Russian focus upon G8 primary, Chinese opposition to UNSC P5 which would weaken their relative importance
Fall of US hegemony is not a movement towards the fall of institutions as a site of power, instead reconfiguration of this platform with plurilateral world
Rising powers are in opposition to US hegemony, eg. Chinese and Russian challenges to US involvement in Asia and Eastern Europe respectively
Different dimensions of power:
o Power through material gains/coercion
First dimension of power, compulsory power
Dahl: A getting B to do what they would otherwise not do
Realism: incentives to build military dominance, and pursue hegemony in anarchy
Power through structures: the direct relations of states through established social constructions.
Most prominent example is power through Marxism: global capitalist system determines capacities of state actors and shapes how actors understand their own interests
This type of power reinforces itself, and it fundamentally very difficult to change
Often those subject to this type of power are increasingly unaware of how this power is dictating their decisions and processes
Power through institutional agenda setting: ability to control the actions of a socially distant other
IR is enmeshed in a web of institutions, norms and rules, ability to achieve will in this context is fundamental through agenda setting
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