Robert Dahl on power

Steven Lukes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Two questions about Dahl’s evolving view of power are addressed. Have critics failed to distinguish his broad concept of power from the operational measures required for its study? It is argued that his classic study Who Governs? was driven by a concept of power on whose narrowness they rightly focused because it excluded important questions about power relations and mechanisms. Secondly, how satisfactory is his final conceptualization of power? This, it is argued, is still too narrow. It conflates power and influence, failing to see the importance of its dispositional character. It advances too narrow a view of its origins and its impact. And it fails to acknowledge the virtues of relating the concept of power to that of ‘interests’.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)261-271
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Political Power
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - May 4 2015


    • influence
    • intentions
    • interests
    • operational
    • power

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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