chapter  6
Deliberation as an ideal and practice in progressive social movements
ByDIETER RUCHT
Pages 23

Power, defined by Max Weber as the capacity to impose one’s will against the will of one or several others, appears to be ubiquitous. It can be found not only in clearcut hierarchical settings such as the military and bureaucracies but also, though often in more subtle forms, in voluntary associations, families, partnerships and youth gangs. This, however, does not mean that every concrete interaction is dominated by power relations. Just consider a decision of close friends where and when to meet next, a casual chat among neighbours about gardening, or two scholars debating the validity of an argument. However, the establishment of some sort of power as a structural feature is probably inevitable when it comes to groups or organizations that develop a certain degree of division of labour and repeatedly, or even routinely, have to solve internal conflicts and take decisions. Therefore, power is often considered to be ‘natural’ or ‘necessary’.