Is "power" different in the twenty-first century?
Is power the same as "ability to influence behavior"?
Do the internet and new forms of communication and social networking create new opportunities for power--for good or bad purposes?
Think about the ways power was created and used in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries: the power of the state to regulate and enforce; the power of the police to arrest and confine; the power of Europe and North America to administer global empires; the power of the press to focus attention on subjects of concern (political corruption, tainted food, child labor).
These forms of power turn on a few more basic ideas: the ability to use force in order to coerce or threaten; the ability to use mechanisms of communication to influence public opinion and action; the ability to deploy a dispersed bureaucracy in order to organize the actions of distant actors.
Has the balance of power shifted between organized states and networked anti-state organizations?
The exercise of power is a crucial mechanism of social causation, and the analysis of the sources and organization of power is an important task for social science and social theory.