What is the relationship between politics power and violence

what is the relationship between politics power and violence

Department of Politics and Philosophy, Freie Universitat Berlin, Berlin, Germany Furthermore, the reciprocal relation between the concepts of political power .. ultimate kind of power is violence" [35], or as Weber elaborated, that power is. Thus, conflict and violence may occur in any structure at any level; it may be absent There is no one to one relationship between change and manifest conflict. Chapter Politics, Power, and Violence. Politics. This chapter covers topics in greatest likelihood of coercive and hierarchical relationships while authority offers the Institutions of the state provide the means through which these diverse.

In an exchange society, conflict manifestations over-all will be at a constant but low level. If one measures the intensity of conflict from one state to the next, where such a measure takes into account the number of killed in domestic violence, the number of revolutions, coups, riots, assassinations, and so on, then this measure of societal strife should be inversely related to the degree to which a society is based on exchange power.

Elite are granted the right to govern on the basis of widely shared religious or ethical principles. The political system is based on a consensus, on a legitimacy. Conflict behavior may occur between groups, bandit groups may prey on outlying villages, food riots may occur in time of scarcity, and peasants may revolt against exploitive landlords, even in an authoritative society isolated from external sources of change.

Moreover, coups or palace revolutions may settle ambiguities in elite succession, or replace a ruler who has lost his legitimacy or "mandate from heaven.

Politics, Power and Violence in Agamben

These may become quite violent, without attacking or bringing into question the legitimacy of the over-all order Gluckman, A problem for many authoritative states is that they are not one consensual society, but often two or more different subsocieties balanced against each other within a common political system. Such is the case with many African states, such as Nigeria. These divisions are communal, often based on racial, language, and tribal homogeneity and territorial separation.

Where activities within communal divisions are left alone by the state, conflict will not occur. But where authoritarian rulers try to extend their legitimacy over such communities, violence is often the result. This conflict is acerbated if class and racial-language-tribal cleavages are the line of class division. If one communal division comprises the elite and the others the ruled, then violence is highly probable.

Thus, authoritarian states will manifest communal and traditional conflict. This conflict behavior will comprise coups, revolutions, and successional revolts of communal subsocieties as well as apolitical banditry, family or class feuds, guild confrontations, and the like. Possible leaders of political opposition are jailed or disappear, and subjects who voice or hint at dissent may be tortured and sent off to a slave labor camp for many years.

what is the relationship between politics power and violence

Under these conditions, conflict manifest in exchange or authoritative systems will not occur. When the elite use overwhelming coercive power arbitrarily and effectively, overt opposition by its subjects cannot build up.

But two varieties of conflict do occur. First, there is the violence of the elite or government against the masses. Execution, torture, jailing, and forced labor camps are endemic and widespread.

Here, the number involved and the number killed will exceed those affected by all forms of strife in authoritative or exchange systems. Instability is common and elite executions, purges, and demotions are the standard way of maintaining power and policies. Within totalitarian political systems, the balance of political power comprises different elite factions, among which conflict is settled through eliminating or disarming the opposing elite.

Intro to Anarchy: Power & Violence - Philosophy Tube

Conflict in coercive societies is manifested by class terror and repression, and elite purges. These are very broad, bereft of much detail at this point, and on the order of directional propositions.

They emphasize the power basis of conflict, the role of interests and expectations, and the importance of the societal context. The next chapters beginning with Chapter 33 will subject these propositions to empirical test, and in the process flesh out their bones. Note that these eight propositions ignore frustration, deprivation, poverty, anomie as conditions or causes of conflict, which are the social science folk beliefs of our time.

The next volume, Vol. Conflict In Perspectivewill consider these popular explanations of social conflict, and relate their arguments to the conflict helix and propositions. Rummel, The Conflict Helix, For full reference to the book and the list of its contents in hypertext, click book. Typographical errors have been corrected, clarifications added, and style updated. Simply consider the randomness of the Watergate exposure, ranging from the happenstances associated with the break-in procedures and discovery by the guard, to the digging by two Washington Post reporters, to a President who tape recorded his conversations.

Given the gap between Nixon on the one hand and the Congress-media-intellectual balance, a serious anti-Nixon event was bound to be explosive a similar affair would probably have had little impact on Kennedy's presidency. Something that gives this force a sense of justification, in this process, on the contrary to the tradition of Bodin and Hobbes thoughts, Montesquieu stands against Bodin and Rousseau stands against Hobbes. Yet, Montesquieu used the same method of Bodin and Rousseau used the method of Hobbes.

Montesquieu's work emphasizes those elements in social and political life which are most independent of human volition, and hence to minimize the significance, if not to exclude the conception, of absolute sovereignty. Rousseau, on the contrary, intensified, if possible, the absoluteness of the sovereign human will as conceived by Hobbes, and made it the sole basis of his theory of democracy [ 29 ]. Something that gives this force a sense of authority, one of the core thesis of this work is to consider the both sides of political spectrum, which is the right of the government and the rights of governed, in any analysis that it sets forth.

Given this framework, the definition of sovereignty, along with political power, is a product of mutual political relation in the political spectrum. Yet, the definition of sovereignty which will be presented is not exactly as the same definition of the popular sovereignty or democracy [ 33 ]. Our definition of sovereignty is comprised of two parts which come as follow: It is related to the concepts of legitimacy and legality in the theory of power.

Moreover, sovereignty is not equivalent to the property of the legal order. A true sovereignty can only be understood by the essential integrated concepts of power and rights. It is a middle ground, which to some extent has value in itself, and to some extent is the subset of the state and the people.

In this sense, the concepts of sovereignty and justified political power are close to each other.

what is the relationship between politics power and violence

However, the concept of sovereignty and legitimate political power can be close or can be opposite to each other. The difference between them is related to the elements of legitimacy. Yet, the legitimacy of a claim to right by which a political order utilizes the instruments of power is not merely based on the concept of empowerment. It also related to other elements which legitimacy is comprised of them.

The question on the sovereignty has seldom been fixed. As a rule, competing interpretations have striven for primacy. The great debates about the power, sovereignty, and their legitimacy are reflected in the both normative and analytical competition.

The question of sovereignty is not whether it belongs to an individual or collective since it is a qualitative character of a political actor whether it is individual or a collective. The main aim in the rivalries of political power is to establish a power structure that is controlled by a sovereign political actor and that is based on some ideology and norms. On the contrary, in On Power, Bertrand de Jouvenel admitted that if we take a close look at history, it shows us that it is the register of political rivalries [ 37 ].

Every sort of rivalries between political powers or organized political units would utterly end in one form of sovereign order since norms and ideology cannot be applied in chaos and maintain in demoralized nothingness [ 38 ]. In fact, the rivalry of political power is something beyond violence and war; it is the formation of sovereign which is a result of a continuing integration process [ 39 ].

Politics, Power and Violence in Agamben - Edinburgh Scholarship

Furthermore, politics is a realm in which the rivalries between political powers can be resolved by victory and can be defeated by a conciliation that is a compromise. In the realm of politics, the clash of decisions or result of their interactions is ended by the concept of a sovereign who consists of both a legal force of a hegemonic political unit and political consciousness.

Based on the ruthless pragmatism and the order of nature, one may believe that the concept of power is takenfor- granted which self-evidently is obtaining immunity of powerful.

However, this definition of power is primitive, tautological and traditional; therefore it would satisfy neither the modern philosophers nor the political scientists nor sociologists. Despite of this dissatisfaction, some of the classic and modern renowned political and social theorists, namely Max Weber, formulated a definition of power similar to the primitive and bias one: Since the early years of the twentieth century, this definition reemphasized on the traditional and prevailing single concept of power over which repeated and refined by other theorists many times.

It also implicitly denies any notion of democratic government where power is defined as the collective will of people. This belief and the instinct of domination promoted by Luckes remind us of the concepts of power and autonomous will which Jouvenel argued in his work, On Power. In every condition of life and social position a man feels himself more of a man when he is imposing himself and making others the instruments of his will, the means to the great ends of which he has an intoxicating vision.

To rule a people, what an extension of the ego is there! Thus, power for Jouvenel, it turns out, is an instrument of domination. He refers to power as the right to use means and instruments. Following the work of Alexander Passerin d'Entreves, The Notion of the State, Arendt formulated the conc ept of power distinguished from force or the mere domination.

In short, she concentrated her critiques of power on the concept of power qua rights.

what is the relationship between politics power and violence

Furthermore, according to the pragmatic exercise of power, no regime can exclusively be based on the means of violence, since violence and the integrated concepts of power can be juxtaposed but they are antithetical. In fact, no theorist of power can escape from a determinate but historically coined interdisciplinary field of interpretive and pragmatic social relations.

The single concept of power is also logically impossible where the concept of power always needs a claimant to power, whether such claimant is an individual, or a group, or a society. To understand that, we need to recognize how power emerges, operated and thrives. The signature of power Indeed, history shows that the rivalry of political power is inevitable.


The location of man to the office and his possession has always been deployed for his will and design to possess power. However, I mentioned that the definition of the rivalry of political power is something beyond violence and war, and I must now qualify this statement. First, political rivalries are the product of differences between theories and ideologies that show the concept of power on which a regime should rely. So the rivalry of political power is between the authorities which are different in kind.

Second, various forms of political powers may be threatening each other. This is due to their different nature of authorities which is based on the different combination of the concepts of political power, i. So we should ask what is the combination of the concepts of power?. Each position proposes questions on this topic. Violence depends on whether or not someone feels like a victim. Furthermore, this subjectivist concept of violence seems defenceless against the symbolic power of political order, which -at least in the Western world- has tended to dissolve violence in political ends.

In short, the subjectivist conception of violence closes the door to thought on an order or activity that functions with violence, and only addresses the actors or individuals that suffer from it.

However, it obligates the acceptance of an objectivist point of view, not referring to false conscience, as Braud upholds, but rather a concept of human beings or of human freedom, for all individuals and for all time, beyond the individuals themselves.

This does not seem to be consistent with the notion itself that order is symbolic, one human construction of meaning, among others. If the meaning is contingent, the idea of freedom and man are as well. For Bourdieu, this violence is fundamentally something that occurs between those who dominate and those who are dominated, or between the state field and other social fields. If political order is symbolic, politics is not reduced to the state field. Society is a fight for meaning and violence is harm done to the meaning itself, thus the axes or circuits of this violence must be multiple and not only from top to bottom.

In summary, violence can also exist among agents situated at the bottom, without great symbolic capital. The harm done to the meaning itself comes from another meaning or vision of the world, which is not necessarily always the hegemonic one. In this sense, Bourdieu, would once again paradoxically reduce, if not politics, violence to the State, seemingly detecting political violence exclusively in the state monopoly of it.

However, they are useful for demonstrating certain tensions that—at least for now—seem logically inevitable among the traits that are considered specific and key to developing a consistent concept of politics. The concepts that seem to form part of a logical tension that threatens their compatibility are: That is to say, the concept of the political, as different from politics, does not lose sight of the fact that the concept of politics, still in this reductionist vision that assimilates it to the state, contributes the characteristic and defining trait of politics: Thus, they do not seem to construct a concept able to recognize the specific traits of politics this argument is not possible to develop here due to lack of time and space.

One complementary problem is not reducing violence to state violence. That is to say, how to identify all violence existing in politics all its axes, not only the vertical onewithout losing the state specificity of politics, in the sense that it is the only valid one in the whole society. This would entail being able to decide that something is violent for a human being, beyond his or her perception, which implies a transcendent concept of man and of violence.

In turn, the other option, embodied by the subjectivist perspective of violence that Braud suggests, impedes the characterization of politics as such by violence. There is no way to assign any violence to the logic of politics since this does not exist until someone feels like a victim. This is equivalent to assuming a social dynamic, which clashes with a reflection which stems from society as a construction, and not as an entity full of inherent meaning.

In this sense, the way Weber contemplates the relation between bureaucratization and politics can be productive. Weber has a concept of man as the creator of meaning and of politics as an activity which keeps the discussion on values alive, but does not therefore conceive them as something set, as a given, but rather, it depends on their social construction.

That is to say, both politics and man can be governed by bureaucratic logic, which supposes the acceptance of politics as a technical question means-ends, no ends discussion.

The general conclusion that can be derived from these three difficulties is that there is room for the search for a theoretical way to solve them. Otherwise one would fall into a de-politicizing concept of politics. However, now de-politicization would no longer come directly from the negation of the political character of creation, fight and crystallization of meaning, but rather from the indirect route of the invisibilitization of its violent character.