In general terms, power suggests the capacity of one person or group to determine—either through force or through other forms of influence—the conduct of another person or group. In return, obedience—conduct that is compliant with the desires and wills of a given authority—could be the effect of either coercion or persuasion. In the first instance, a contradiction between opposite wills and desires will probably lead to an endemic state of conflict. In the second case, on the contrary, the subject has attuned his or her will and desires accordingly to those of the leader; the contradiction between them then remains latent and is seemingly neutralized.

As a matter of fact, in contemporary democracies, social power might be understood as a relationship among collective behaviors. In this ...

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