• Geoffrey Debnam


The central problem in the study of power is the identification of relevant core elements, and, of these, ‘outcome’ is the critical focusing device. The previous chapter has shown how this, and the associated problem of counterfactual statement, present problems that are of immediate and specific consequence for the structuring of any power analysis. In a very obvious sense, how we organise data collection and presentation of evidence can be of major importance in shaping the conclusions reached. As a result of analysing research methods and findings in eighty-three community power studies ‘from a sociology of knowledge perspective’ James Curtis and John Petras point out the apparently close relationship between methodology and conclusions. Decision-making analysis is justified by pluralist structural premises and leads to pluralist conclusions; reputational analysis is justified by elitist structural premises and leads to elitist conclusions.1 Structure is so much part of the way in which power is identified and discussed that no power study ignoring its requirements can be taken seriously. The question arises then: what are these requirements?


Community Power Counterfactual Statement Structural Premise Opposed Principle Organise Data Collection 
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Copyright information

© Geoffrey Debnam 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Debnam
    • 1
  1. 1.Victoria University of WellingtonNew Zealand

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