Foucault’s view on power practices
Power has been identified with prestige, influence, competence or ability, knowledge, dominance and with authority (Braungart 1976:199). Michel Foucault (1926-84) merely focused on power with knowledge and how these two concepts reproduce one another. In his theoretical writings Foucault acknowledges that power is not just exercised by the State but also through social relations. Bierstedt (1976:202) defines power as the ability to introduce force in a situation: it is the presentation of force. Although ‘force’ or coercive creates negative, unlawful assumptions. Foucault’s perspective on the exercise of power is identified as legitimate. The rules on which authority is based are rational-consciously constructed and they specify the means by which that goal is attained.
The use of power
For Foucault power is intertwined with knowledge and that power operates when people have some form of freedom. His primarily concern was how the state attempt to regulate the population. He illustrates his concerns through the use of a psychiatric institution, where mentally challenged people are place in a psychiatric, power is the exercised over the individual by controlling their behaviour through administration. However state power was not his only focus, Foucault also examined the changing nature of the purpose of punishment.
It is believed that in the late 18th century any form of punishment was directed to the human body. Although bodily harm was inflicted punishment occurred secretly (behind closed doors etc.) the occurrence was not visible to and for the society. According to Haralambos et al. (2006:582) the infliction of bodily harm was a way of making the offender suffer and also a way to discourage others. In the 19th century punishment entailed the loss of rights and specialist knowledge became essential to control punishment. Through specialist knowledge Foucault shows that the state develops techniques for controlling the population, experts consists of power that had knowledge to exercise power in reforming people.
The exercise of power can be virtually resisted by challenging the knowledge on which it is based. Later in his writings Foucault concluded that ” the state passed law to regulate and control individuals behaviour and that power exercised in social relationships is not possessed by individuals rather getting people to do something when they have a choice not to.
Weber’s view on political power
The most influential sociological view is that of Max Weber (1864-1920). Weber defines power as the chance of men to realise their own will in a communal action even against the resistance of others who are participating in the actions (Oxford dictionary of sociology. 2014:588).According to Orum (1978:52), for Weber the political system consists of the state made up by the head of the head and the machinery of the state- with the institution consisting the possession of the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory
Weber’s political concern was with why followers obey and what factors contribute to the followers obeying the ruler (leadership). It is quite evidence that habit and custom are the principles to secure ultimate obedience by the followers and obedience is primarily determined by the legitimacy of the ruler (leader). According to Weber (cited by Masciulli, 209:17) leadership is exercised according to traditional, legal-rational or charismatic domination, authority and legitimation.
Weber distinguishes among three types of what he calls “ideal” authority and describes the bases power is exercised
In this type of authority the leader is believed to have supernatural, extraordinary qualities. These qualities are what followers believe that the leader can perform miracles. Orum (1978) believes that this type of authority is the most unstable and transitory of the three because of believes followers have about the leader.
Here, authority is usually inherited. Haralambos et al (2006) traditional authority rests upon a belief in the rightness of established customs and traditions, followers are administered by feelings of loyalty and obligation.
The leader is thought to possess power because he and his ancestors have always held the position of dominance (Orum 1978:55) In contrast to Foucault’s view. Haralambos et al. (2006) Foucault insists that power is not something possessed by individual. An individual does not simply hold power; they can use power if they can muster the rights disposition, tactics, and techniques to achieve what they want”. Just like the other Hannah Pierre Bourdieu had a similar view to that of Weber; he believed that historical practice plays an essential role in determining future practices. Past experiences tend to guarantee to correctness of practices and he defines this continuously ways of making decisions as a habitus.
Unlike traditional and charismatic authority, rational-legal authority rests upon set laws. Orum (19780) ascribes these laws as legal and accepted by followers, and are therefore impersonal. Haralambos et al. (2006) the rules on which authority is based are rational- consciously constructed and they specify the means by which that goal is attained.
The leaders are continuously obeyed because followers believe, they (leaders) are legitimate holders of power and the holders must be legitimate for they are continuously obeyed.
Steven LukesFor Lukes power has three dimension or face, he believes that can be exercised with these faces and the benefit always lies in those to holds the power. Lukes defined power as power exercised on individual with or without them knowing that they are being exploited. The three dimensions aims power explains the radical view he (Luke’s) has on power.
It occurs where different individuals or groups express different policy preferences and influences the making of decision of decision over various issues.
Non decision making
Lukes believe that power may be used to prevent certain issues form being discussed or decision about them from being taken. This type of power exercised is most commonly in a totalitarian regime- where the leader aims to control all aspects of decisions being made or even being considered. Lefort (1988:48) totalitarianism is a regime; the idea of an absolute law which owes nothing to human interpretations, ethical or religious references.
Arendt disagrees with the notion that power belongs to an individual but to a group and remains in existence only so long as the groups keeps it together. A perfect example if found in Havel (1978) she wrote an article about totalitarianism and dictatorship where she makes a perfect example of a greengrocery store manager who is obligated to put a poster with the slogan, “workers of the world unite”. In a total domination regime it is quite questionable to what the actual message was behind that slogan but nevertheless a totalitarianism regime has the actual ability to make followers what they want and how. So the irony in the slogan is that workers must unite knowing fully well that the State has the final say.
The last dimension, most often refers to power being exercised by shaping desire-manipulating the wishes and desires of social groups.
Machiavelli on leadership- the Prince
Leadership is the dignity, office, or position of a leader, eps. of a political party; ability to lead; the position of group of people leading or influencing other within a given context; the group itself; the action or influence necessary for the direction or organization od effort in a group undertaking (Oxford English Dictionary).
For Machiavelli, (cited by Mascuilli,1978) leaders should be considered and identified as princes (with or without principalities) and captions ( with or without armies).
Cunha et al. (1961; 40) the main foundation of every state is good laws and good arms and because you cannot have good laws without good arms and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follows.
Machiavellis notion on being the most effective, acceptable leader or Prince, who wants to keep the state is often forces to be not good.
Machiavelii (1997; 72) further elaborates that a leader needs to be prudent which he defines as, “knowing how to recognize the qualities if inconvenience and in less bad as good (1998b:91).
He believed that a prince, leader, must be feared rather than loved; love is secured by a bond of gratitude which men break when it is to their advantage to do so.
1961;57, a ruler cannot, must not, honour his word when it places him at the disadvantage and when the reason for which he made his promise no longer exist.
Cunha et al, “He who wants to maintain power, needs to learn how to do good and how to do evil and make decision about which action, regardless of its moral consequences- will enhance his position”.
Hannah Arendt- Totalitarianism
For Arendt, totalitarianism is born of a depoliticized society in which there are no longer any limits to indifference to public affairs and to individualism (Lefort 1988:52).
In simple Arendt postulates that a totalitarian regime consists of both a lawful government legitimate power and lawless and arbitrary power. The system itself has the ability to regulate and control the behaviour of its citizens and those who chose to oppose to the given rules are dealt with. Above mentioned example about the greengrocery store manager let’s say he decides to resist the exercise of power he might lose his position as manage as evidence in Foucault’s writing that punishment by the State, ruler, occurred for different reasons but mostly to discourage others. The attempt of the greengrocery store to resist the bases on which power was build and losing his post as manager, raised awareness amongst his colleagues not to question the ruler. Haralambos et al. (2006) in the 19t century punishment entailed loss of rights, as the manager lost the right to fight for his manager position also his right for freedom of speech.
Foucault would recognise a totalitarian system as a way of enforcing discipline as people are summoned and must always be involved in tasks serving the general interests.
Lefort (1988:49) defines total domination as the exercise of power which owes nothing to any ethical or religious reference powers which recognize no limits to the realm of the possible. The grounds on which the greengrocery store lost his managerial post can be regarded as unethical because due procedures where not followed as the system proclaims itself to be superior to human beings.
The populations in a totalitarian regime are always manipulated in believing that the system is there to serve them they should conform for their benefit. Havel (1978:2) states that the system itself is an ideology with the illusion that it serves in the needs of the populations with order and disciple, meanwhile citizens are not pleased with the ways in which law is enforced upon them but conforming is a way for freedom. Due to state ownership the state becomes the sole employer that means that dismissing the greengrocery store manager is seen as lawful.
Totalitarianism can be considered as what Wrong Dennis pin down as coercive authority, compliance by force. According to Lefort (1988:48) Totalitarianism is regarded as a regimes because every action is done publically therefore it cannot be an arbitrary type of government as it does refer to a law.
Bourdieu would argue that as long as individual does not see the true principle of the conductorless orchestration who give regularities-habitus, There will no changes to the system, regime.
Bourdieu- Habitus and practices
Bourdieu’s theory is mainly about the structured system in which individuals find themselves. Within this structured system, structured practices exist producing the habitus.
Habitus refers to practices individuals continuously do based on various reason but culturally based.
In structural systems social actions are constrained and impossible in contrast to that a viable system when individuals are free to make choices to make manipulate the system to their advantage
Bourdieu (cited by Braugart,1978:45) structural systems produces habitus-generate and organize practices and representation can be objectively adapted to their outcome without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends or an express master of the operations necessarily in order to attain them.
In traditional authority of Weber, the past has influenced followers their responses were taken without any calculations in relations to potentialities.
The practice of habitus tends ignore the restriction of other possibilities, as practices produces individual and collectives practices followers tend to feel their decisions are correct.