Politics > Handling Political Tensions > Limits of Personal Influence

Limits of Personal Influence in Society

We can now investigate the dynamics of participation associated with political activities. The relation of groupings to Root levels comes to the fore in these brief accounts of inter-level influences. The account here is somewhat stylised to enable exposition and set the scene.

ClosedSee the system summarized in a Table

Linking people and society using the framework of political life.

Stability via Mass Action  ↔  Political Will

CG7CG6: This Channel can be conceived of as societal awareness i.e. “everyone knows something must be done, whether or not they agree”.
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Given the tensions based on felt injustices, stability via mass action-CG7 entails finding a political solution rather than a violent one. For any progress, the necessary willingness-RL7 must contribute to the development of a political will-CG6 within society. Political will also contributes to rejecting violence as a solution.

Political Will  ↔  Authorization Arrangements

CG6 CG5: This Channel could be referred to as societal mandate i.e. “society gives permission for an as-yet-undefined change to be introduced”.
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Political will-CG6 is a product of experience-RL4. Intense widespread ideas and feelings impact on the arrangements for authorizing change-CG5 in society. Governance systems may have provisions that can be activated and the leadership is not blind. While leaders sense the necessity for reform, they also perceive widespread resistance, sectional discontent and even hardship for many—as well as likely anger from financial and electoral supporters.

Awareness must therefore become more concrete. The willed change may be informally appreciated, but if there is any uncertainty, the people are asked for specific endorsement either via a referendum or via a manifesto at a regular election.

Authorization Arrangements  ↔  Public Policy Proposals

CG5CG4: This Channel enables societal direction i.e. "these are the sorts of measures that will be introduced".
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The government and leadership-CG5 desire the specific changes broadly according with the mandate to be acceptable and more beneficial than harmful. So there needs to be a search for good ideas and workable policies-CG4. Inquiries and reports typically feed back to the leaders and relevant government organs that have been set up to authoritatively shape the way change is handled.

Various guidance, priorities and time-lines based on conceptions of change-RL3 may emerge as essential to minimize disruption and manage costs.

Only at this point can all members of society get personally involved.

Public Policy Proposals  ↔  Mobilization for Results

CG4 CG3: The inter-level Channel here seems to be personal contribution i.e. “this is what I can and must do".
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Once reform is sure, inquiry-RL2 commences, formally and informally, as possible policies and ideas-CG4 are floated and developed. Consequences and scenarios of likely official decisions are pictured and publicized. As the hard realities become increasingly evident, individuals and groups see a need for mobilization-CG3 so as to organize and contribute to the evolution of thinking according to their values and interests.

Although authority stems from a group and any benefit accrues to its members, the thought and effort depends on specific persons.

Mobilization for Results  ↔  Political Work

CG3CG2: The inter-level ink here is personal conduct i.e. “this is how I must handle myself".
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Successful mobilization-CG3 can only emerge from a foundation of political work-CG2. Experience and expertise enable efficient organization. Organization is essential to make action-RL1 effective despite uncertainty and buffeting. The various forms of mobilization make their own distinct demands, in which a person’s character, rather than capability, becomes the issue.

Stress flows from urgency, receiving criticism, being pressured by other political players, interaction with the media and contact with the general public. Participating in any project involves cooperating with co-workers, and collaborating with external consultants and legal advisors.

Political Work  ↔  Social Commitment

CG2CG1: The inter-level link here is personal involvement i.e. “this is where I want to put my energies".
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Taking on political work-CG2, i.e. becoming a player in society’s great game of power, emerges from the elemental requirement for social commitment-CG1 from all. It only occurs because a particular person actually wants to become involved. This is where capability comes into play: a capability that is founded upon communication-RL5 and the use of language to be able to make sense of society, foresee and explain events, and persuade people. The more a person's political ability aligns with their social commitment, the more effective and genuine the political work.

It is easy to stay within the world of politics (i.e. at CG1) without being a player (i.e. at CG2 and above). But if politics is what you were born for, then you will surely give of your best. As we all must.

Originally posted: August-2009; Last updated: 15-Nov-2010

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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