Monolithic Model of Power — CANVAS

Monolithic Model of Power

The Monolithic Model of Power

“It portrays power as being centered at the top of a solid, unchanging power structure. Occupiers of power portrayed by this monolithic model may change for any number of reasons, but the structure of power itself, that is, its pyramid shell, is fixed as if in granite, irrespective of the power mix within or the will to change from without.”

Robert Helvey, On Strategic Nonviolent Conflict (2004: 2)

The CANVAS Core Curriculum (2007: 24) describes the monolithic model of power as the system authoritarians want you to perceive as being solid and unmovable like a mountain. This model promotes the idea of a fixed power structure, as if nothing could be changed except the person or people at the top. Whoever the person on the top of the power structure is, he/she has power over society. The decisions he/she makes today become a reality for the entire society tomorrow. The person or people at the top can be changed – through a revolution, a war, or a coup – but the model remains the same: whoever gets to the top of the mountain ends up controlling all power in society. You can break small pieces away by attacking this monolith with your actions or campaigns… But the mountain of power is still there.