At its core, political or social power is a System’s ability to influence the behaviour of other systems.
This means power is a relational property of systems. One level up, out of power relationships systems of power emerge, i.e. constellations of relationships between people, resource, institutions and social positions that are object to Cultural Evolution:
Systems of relationships themselves can in turn become related (the earlier relationships now becoming the relata in a new relationship), thus evolving into systems of ever higher level relationships with creative new properties of their own.Juarrero (1998), 240–241
These systems have power in a very literal sense: they influence
their components’ (people’s, institutions’) behaviour by acting as
i.e. reducing their degrees of freedom.This is a) close to the idea of structural power and b)
connects a systems view of power with the republican conception of
freedom as non-domination.
It is therefore more than just metaphorical to speak of power as an actor itself.
- Juarrero (1998): “Causality as Constraint”