Pluralistic Model of Power — CANVAS

Pluralistic Model of Power

Pluralistic Model of Power

“This theory portrays political power as being pluralistic and fragile. Sources of power are identified as residing among the people throughout society, with the power holders able to exercise only that power that the people permit.”

Robert Helvey, On Strategic Nonviolent Conflict (2004: 3)

The CANVAS Core Curriculum (2007: 25) describes the pluralistic model of power as opposed to the monolithic model, in that the nature of power in that model is diametrically different. In a society, power can change very swiftly. It is fragile and dispersed. Wherever people are, the ultimate reality of power is the same. Power in society ultimately comes from the people. And those people – each of whom is a small, individual source of political power – can change their minds. Rulers only have that power which people provide to them. Power can be given to the ruler willingly, like in democratic societies, or people can be coerced to give it, against their own?will,?or?they?can?simply?be?apathetic,?and?relinquish? that?power?because?they?don’t?care?and?they?don’t?think? their actions can lead to any change. This is why nonviolent campaigns are so important: They make people aware that their actions CAN and DO make change. This is especially true when people are unified and act together in nonviolent and strategically coordinated ways.