The Role of Power in Relation to the Human Condition Name University The Role of Power in Relation to the Human Condition Power can be defined as the authority or ability to do something in a specific way. Power is a very interesting phenomenon to be studied and is dependent upon human condition which in turn depends on the social, cultural and personal context of the person’s environment and surroundings…
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Power is a very important and significant concept as well as a very confusing and relative term at the same time. This is because it depends on the kind of power that a person possesses in a certain situation and specific role. A person, at any one time is very likely to experience different forms of power such as expert power, referent, reward or coercive power (Flyvbjerg, 2009). There are also several sources to exercise power which include knowledge and expertise, charisma, coercion, persuasion, knowledge, social class, aggressive or manipulative. Power is not necessarily negative. It exists in both forms, positive as well as negative (Noordin Yahaya, 2011). A person who has a high authority can always use a positive way to exercise power and can also use a negative way to exercise his powers. Power can be used by using different tactics such as the concept of using soft power and hard power (Galbraith, 1983). Soft power refers to more collaborative ways of exercising power while hard power uses more harsh ways of displaying one’s power in a more manipulative manner. Moreover, power can be used in other ways like rational and irrational. Power is a good and a bad thing at the same time. When used in a productive way, that is to help others, to help humanity, to help society leaving apart all the desires that have power, it can produce great results. On the other hand if power is used in a negative way that is to get what you desire and that also might be unethical, by hurting people or by using power to take coercive actions can lead into a disaster (Ghandchi, 1998). As clear from their names, rational power means to influence others with logic while irrational power means coercing them to do something without any logical explanation or understanding. Another way is to use power in a unilateral or bilateral way. Bilateral use of power involves two way communication and ways of convincing people, negotiating with them, listening to what they have to say and implementing things that seem right. On the other hand, unilateral power involves person making decisions of his choice regardless of caring about others opinions and considering oneself as absolutely correct; not ready to face any kind of criticism. In the three novels that will be under consideration for this analysis; The Alienist", "The Thin Man", and "Snow in August", we will see what they have in common and how they can relate to concept of role of power with respect to human condition. All the three novels being discussed below have some form of power under discussion and each of them refers to a different form of power, how it affected the individual and how it can help achieve one’s goals, or how it has negatively affected a person in achieving what he wanted to. To begin with “The Alienist”, which is a psychological thriller and revolves around a diverse forensic team to help investigate on the issue and find a serial killer. In the context of this topic, what is important here is the fact that the forensic team constituted of a police secretary, a journalist, two detectives and the alienist himself. This means that the power of decision making in human context belonged to these 5 members regardless of what their roles in other contexts of life were. For instance, the journalist has a different position of authority in his job and so does the police secretary. However ...
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