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Explaining the nature of power: A three-process theory

Turner, John C

Description

Power is an inescapable feature of human social life and structure. This paper addresses the nature of power. The standard theory is that power is the capacity for influence and that influence is based on the control of resources valued or desired by others. However, there have always been problems with this theory and new ones have appeared. The paper summarizes the standard theory and its problems, outlines the different meanings of power and presents a new theory emphasizing group identity,...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorTurner, John C
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T22:54:29Z
dc.identifier.issn0046-2772
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/82139
dc.description.abstractPower is an inescapable feature of human social life and structure. This paper addresses the nature of power. The standard theory is that power is the capacity for influence and that influence is based on the control of resources valued or desired by others. However, there have always been problems with this theory and new ones have appeared. The paper summarizes the standard theory and its problems, outlines the different meanings of power and presents a new theory emphasizing group identity, social organization and ideology rather than dependence as the basis of power. It proposes that power is based on persuasion, authority and coercion. A key point is that the theory changes the way these processes have been understood by reversing the causal sequence of the standard theory. The latter argues that control of resources produces power, power is the basis of influence and that mutual influence leads to the formation of a psychological group. The three-process theory argues that psychological group formation produces influence, that influence is the basis of power and that power leads to the control of resources. Implications of the theory for social change, coercion, prejudice and the extent to which power is a social evil are briefly noted. The challenge is to study how power emerges from and functions within social relationships with a definite social, ideological and historical content rather than reifying it as an abstract external force producing generic psychological effects.
dc.publisherJohn Wiley & Sons Inc
dc.sourceEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
dc.subjectKeywords: Group Identity; Ideologies; Interpersonal Relations; Meaning; Power; Social Theories; Theoretical Problems
dc.titleExplaining the nature of power: A three-process theory
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.description.refereedYes
local.identifier.citationvolume35
dc.date.issued2005
local.identifier.absfor170113 - Social and Community Psychology
local.identifier.ariespublicationMigratedxPub10424
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationTurner, John C, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage1
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage22
local.identifier.doi10.1002/ejsp.244
dc.date.updated2015-12-11T11:04:26Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-11944266976
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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