Three Dimensions Of Power In The Film 'Bottled Life'

938 Words4 Pages
Power can be divided into three different dimensions, according to Lukes (1974: 11-25). This essay will discuss the three dimensions and give examples of them by using the documentary ‘Bottled Life’ by Urs Schnell, in which the company’s business with water is investigated. First, there is the one-dimensional view of power, which is used to analyse behaviour and hereby, strictly the observable making of decisions. Actors who are successful at attempts of making decisions that will have an impact on other groups are seen as powerful or influential, terms which are used interchangeably. These decisions are made about an observable conflict involving the interests of the actors involved, which are visible and shown as the actors’ preferences…show more content…
This dimension has a critique on the second, accusing it of being too qualified, thus still too close to behaviourism (Lukes 1974: 21). It also turns down the idea that there must be conflict in consequence of the exercise of power. It is possible for an actor to exercise power over another actor or individual by manipulating their desires and subjective interests. This means that power, as seen in this third dimension, can also be used to prevent conflict from happening. This results in latent conflict, where the subjective interests of the affected conflict with their real interests, even though they might not realise it (idem: 23-25). This dimension adds to the nondecision concept as well, by explaining that it is possible for there to be a nondecision, even if the people do not feel deprived. In this case, the nondecision exists by manipulating the (subjective) interests of the people and that way, keeping issues off the agenda (idem: 24). The documentary shows a clear example of the third dimension in one of the towns in Maine. The company of Nestlé has bought land there to be able to acquire as much water as they want for their business. To prevent the citizens of the town from complaining, they have been ‘a good neighbour’, donating money to education, helping finance playgrounds and most importantly, creating jobs in this town, where the economy was crumbling before they got there. (Bottled Life 2012). By doing this they are shaping the subjective interests of the citizens, even though it might not be in their real interest to welcome the company, due to ecological reasons for
Open Document