01 September 2015
Unlike the natural world studied by natural science, political reality is not simply given, but is in part the outcome of people’s beliefs, actions, and interactions. There are of course objective structures and forces in social life (laws, institutions, resources), but their effects on people are not like the force of gravity (which is indifferent to peoples' beliefs). Instead, objective social forces change as beliefs and actions change and give rise to new patterns of interaction in the service of different goals and values. One way to understand political power is as the collective capacity to define and change the given reality in according to a guiding value system.