The term ‘power’ is one that is often thrown around the media world and is placed upon many controversial debates around political, social and economic matters. Before the theoretical side of the ‘power in the media’ can be deconstructed and assessed, it is important to first look at what the simple definition of the word ‘power’ is (according to Google):
“1. the ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way.”
“2. the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others or the course of events.”
These two definitions go more or less hand in hand with each other. The ability for an individual to act autonomously as an individual in society is often a facade or institution that has been created and is controlled by the people in ‘power’; the ones who can directly influence our behaviour. This is a fascinating concept as you only start to realise how much control we are placed under throughout our every day lives when you begin to deconstruct the very fabric of our society and hierarchical system; through discourse between the class system, our political make-up, and capitalist culture.
However, looking at our hierarchical system further, the government is voted into power and held accountable by the general public; a collection of individuals. This ability grants the general public with an enormous and remarkable amount of power. Despite this, decisions such as this only come about by a very large majority of people united behind a certain cause, and are ineffective if individuals are scattered or dispersed. This is why revolutions, strikes and demonstrations can be so profound in that they are upheld by a significant amount of individuals in one place, thus providing a much stronger voice to their argument or line of reasoning. These events are usually orchestrated in order to overthrow, dismiss or challenge a particular discourse or institution.
Dominant discourse can come in a number of different forms. An example of this discourse is through rules and regulations that are enforced upon us from birth by parents. These guidelines mould and shape us into who we are for the rest of our lives; whether it be from manners, ways to dress, schools to attend, food to eat etc. Dominant discourse can also come from those higher up in ‘power’ such as the government who implement many rules on how we have to live that influence us on a daily basis. As individuals, we have the choice and autonomy to decide whether we wish to forever follow these discourses and be one among many in life, or choose to be an individual with our own mind and way of life.
In terms of a power artefact to create, this concept of a society based around dominant discourse would be an interesting area to explore, and the significant hardships and challenges we have placed upon us surrounding living a life we want to against living a life we are expected to.
Google (2013) Power [online] available from: www.google.co.uk/#q=power+meaning [09 October 2013].
Unknown. n.d. ‘He-Man I have the power wallpaper’. [image online] available from: http://www.jobnimbus.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/tumblr_m336glqeNC1r04pibo1_500.jpg %5B09 Oct 2013].