Who has power in a relationship? Learn how it's the person who chooses to withhold consent or cooperation and how power should be shared. "Our power in relationships comes from the ability to make empowered choices about them, and feel like our advocacy for those choices is. Power is a basic component of any relationship. Think about the relationships in your own life. When you were a child, who had the power in.
Power (social and political) - Wikipedia
Partners in close and satisfying relationships often influence each other at different times in various arenas. Power as Resource Based: Power usually represents a struggle over resources. The more scarce and valued resources are, the more intense and protracted are power struggles. The scarcity hypothesis indicates that people have the most power when the resources they possess are hard to come by or are in high demand.
However, scarce resource leads to power only if it's valued within a relationship. The person with less to lose has greater power in the relationship.
Dependence power indicates that those who are dependent on their relationship or partner are less powerful, especially if they know their partner is uncommitted and might leave them. According to interdependence theory, quality of alternatives refers to the types of relationships and opportunities people could have if they were not in their current relationship. The principle of least interest suggests that if a difference exists in the intensity of positive feelings between partners, the partner who feels the most positive is at a power disadvantage.
There's an inverse relationship between interest in relationship and the degree of relational power. Power as Enabling or Disabling: Power can be enabling or disabling. Research[ citation needed ] has been shown that people are more likely to have an enduring influence on others when they engage in dominant behavior that reflects social skill rather than intimidation.
People who communicate through self-confidence and expressive, composed behavior tend to be successful in achieving their goals and maintaining good relationships. Power can be disabling when it leads to destructive patterns of communication.
This can lead to the chilling effect where the less powerful person often hesitates to communicate dissatisfaction, and the demand withdrawal pattern which is when one person makes demands and the other becomes defensive and withdraws mawasha, Both effects have negative consequences for relational satisfaction. Power as a Prerogative: The prerogative principle states that the partner with more power can make and break the rules.
Powerful people can violate norms, break relational rules, and manage interactions without as much penalty as powerless people. These actions may reinforce the powerful person's dependence power. In addition, the more powerful person has the prerogative to manage both verbal and nonverbal interactions. They can initiate conversations, change topics, interrupt others, initiate touch, and end discussions more easily than less powerful people. See expressions of dominance.
Rational choice framework[ edit ] Game theorywith its foundations in the Walrasian theory of rational choiceis increasingly used in various disciplines to help analyze power relationships. One rational choice definition of power is given by Keith Dowding in his book Power. In rational choice theory, human individuals or groups can be modelled as 'actors' who choose from a 'choice set' of possible actions in order to try to achieve desired outcomes. An actor's 'incentive structure' comprises its beliefs about the costs associated with different actions in the choice set, and the likelihoods that different actions will lead to desired outcomes.
In this setting we can differentiate between: This framework can be used to model a wide range of social interactions where actors have the ability to exert power over others. For example, a 'powerful' actor can take options away from another's choice set; can change the relative costs of actions; can change the likelihood that a given action will lead to a given outcome; or might simply change the other's beliefs about its incentive structure. As with other models of power, this framework is neutral as to the use of 'coercion'.
Cultural hegemony[ edit ] In the Marxist tradition, the Italian writer Antonio Gramsci elaborated the role of ideology in creating a cultural hegemonywhich becomes a means of bolstering the power of capitalism and of the nation-state. The back end, the beast, represented the more classic, material image of power, power through coercion, through brute force, be it physical or economic. But the capitalist hegemony, he argued, depended even more strongly on the front end, the human face, which projected power through 'consent'.
In Russia, this power was lacking, allowing for a revolution. However, in Western Europe, specifically in Italycapitalism had succeeded in exercising consensual power, convincing the working classes that their interests were the same as those of capitalists.
In this way revolution had been avoided.
While Gramsci stresses the significance of ideology in power structures, Marxist-feminist writers such as Michele Barrett stress the role of ideologies in extolling the virtues of family life. The classic argument to illustrate this point of view is the use of women as a ' reserve army of labour '. In wartime it is accepted that women perform masculine tasks, while after the war the roles are easily reversed. Therefore, according to Barrett, the destruction of capitalist economic relations is necessary but not sufficient for the liberation of women.
He shows that power over an individual can be amplified by the presence of a group. If the group conforms to the leader's commands, the leader's power over an individual is greatly enhanced while if the group does not conform the leader's power over an individual is nil. Foucault[ edit ] For Michel Foucaultthe real power will always rely on the ignorance of its agents. No single human, group nor single actor runs the dispositif machine or apparatus but power is dispersed through the apparatus as efficiently and silently as possible, ensuring its agents to do whatever is necessary.
It is because of this action that power is unlikely to be detected that it remains elusive to 'rational' investigation. This milieu both artificial and natural appears as a target of intervention for power according to Foucault which is radically different from the previous notions on sovereignty, territory and disciplinary space inter woven into from a social and political relations which function as a species biological species. He writes, "A body is docile that may be subjected, used, transformed and improved.
Instead of using corporeal punishment in order to convince people to adhere to the laws of the day, Foucault says power becomes internalized during this period. Instead of watching someone be drawn and quartered in a public space, political power is exerted on individuals in a way that compels them to obey laws and rules on their own - without this show of force.
He builds on the ideas of Jeremy Bentham regarding the Panopticon in which prison inmates are compelled to behave and control themselves because they might be in the view of the prison guard. The physical shape of the Panopticon creates a situation in which the prison guard need not be present for this to happen, because the mere possibility of the presence of the guard compels the prisoners to behave. Foucault takes this theory and makes it generalize to everyday life. He claims that this kind of surveillance is constant in modern society, and the populous at large enacts it.
Therefore, everyone begins to control themselves and behave according to society's rules and norms. Feminist philosophers took up Foucault's ideas regarding docile bodies and applied them to the different ways men and women are socialized to use their bodies. She also cites diet, exercise, and skin care, among other processes, as sites in which the feminine body is made docile.
Clegg[ edit ] Stewart Clegg proposes another three-dimensional model with his "circuits of power"  theory. This model likens the production and organizing of power to an electric circuit board consisting of three distinct interacting circuits: These circuits operate at three levels, two are macro and one is micro. The Role of Power in Relationships I wanted to take a moment to address an issue that often comes up in couples work when two people are in conflict and trying to assert their needs.
When we want to influence another person, what we are in effect doing is attempting to exert some power over that individual. There are many meanings and possible sources of power.
Power (social and political)
For example, passion can be a source of power. The righteousness of a cause can be its power. So when a couple is mired in conflict— when they are desperately trying to get their way or be right or prove the other person wrong— what it often comes down to is a power struggle.
Think about the relationships in your own life. When you were a child, who had the power in the parent-child relationship? At your work when you interact with your boss, who has the power? If you are now a parent, who has the power in your relationship with your children? Love relationships do not escape this dynamic. Lovers can say that they are completely equal, but to do so requires a mindful awareness of the role of power. For example, if one partner is denying sex to the other, is that an equal relationship?
What role does power have in that dynamic? Who is exerting power in that situation? Is this perhaps the only form of power the individual has at his or her disposal? These are important questions to ask. If we are not mindful of the role of power in relationships, we miss an important opportunity to have an honest discussion about what is truly going on.
But the truth is if the partner who is denying sex in the situation above keeps pretending that he or she has a headache and ignoring the power struggle beneath the surface, the problem only snowballs to the point that the couple will find themselves so resentful that breaking up seems to be the only viable option.
If people truly want to be transparent and honest in their relationships whichever kind of relationship it isthey need to be able to have a frank discussion about the role that power plays in that relationship.
I once had a professor who started the first day of class by saying that he knew that as the professor he had a large amount of power that he wielded over us, and as a result he would be mindful of using it cautiously and wisely. At the moment I thought to myself that this was one of the most honest statements I had ever heard. And I instantly trusted this professor. He could have justified to himself that these students with the Cs instead of As were just worse students, that they lacked the appropriate reasoning and critical thinking skills and he could have gone on through his life doing the same to future students, to university staff, to his wife, and to his kids.
And he would never be called on it.