|Title of host publication||The Wiley‐Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory|
|Editors||Bryan S. Turner|
|Publication status||Published - 20 Nov 2017|
Power is a core concept in social theory. This entry examines definitions of the concept, starting with Max Weber, and emphasizing the importance of analyzing power in terms of key constituent concepts of domination, authority, and legitimacy. It further explores some of the key puzzles that have characterized the study of power: the relationship between power “over” and power “to,” the connections between physical and social power, the significance of distribution for its analysis, its relationship to structure and agency, and what suffices as evidence of power. The final section provides a brief history of the idea, from Machiavelli and Hobbes up to Michel Foucault and Michael Mann, stressing the divergence in theoretical approaches to power in recent decades.