relations of power in regards to the London Pride Parade applying Foucault’s theory of power (Actions over actions; power of discipline and power of resistance)
Identify one key stakeholder (government) of Pride in London Parade and discuss its role in relation to the event using Foucault’s power theory. Integrate a critical evaluation of the political context and judge how effectively the stakeholder’s needs are currently being met. The political context may include references to the relevant policies of national and/or local government, non-governmental organisations, arms-length organisations, as well as relevant legislation. Make recommendations for any necessary improvements to the event organisers and wider policy makers.
– Pride London: http://prideinlondon.org/
This essay will discuss relations of power in regards to the London Pride Parade applying Foucault’s theory. It will attempt to defend the view that power circulates throughout societies and is rather exercised than given or received (Foulcault, 1976, cited in Gordon, year unknown). Also, this paper seeks to address the following questions: how the government is exercising power, in what context, over which community and with what effects? Finally, this essay will attempt to make recommendations for any necessary improvements to the event organisers and wider policy makers.
London Pride Parade, as many other parades, still has the original political and activist character (Newman, 1997). Therefore, the role of the government, as one of the key stakeholder, is crucial in terms of event development and support. Bowdin et al (2011:230) defines stakeholders as “people and organisations with a legitimate interest in the outcome of an event”. Therefore, a stakeholder can be anyone involved directly or indirectly in an event. Bowdin et al (2011) continues that stakeholders are subdivided into three sectors involving government, the corporate sector and community where each of segments play a vital role in event success. This essay will be focused mainly on the government as a key stakeholder of London Pride Parade. According to Getz (2012) many governments license all events and ban or shut down informal gatherings. Consequently, government is undoubtedly one of the core stakeholders of London Pride Parade as it supports the event and allows staging the event right in the city centre. Moreover, the government promotes the Parade as a tool of economic development and social benefits such as pride in the community; community involvement; infrastructure development; foreign currency generation; employment; and national pride (Getz 2012; Foley et al, 2012; Allen et al, 2005). What is more, the government uses the event as a city’s image promotion, which is, according to Bowdin et al (2011), one of the key elements. This refers to advertising London as one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world. However, government’s support of the Parade is a recent phenomenon as its power over the legislation in 1990’s caused many disorders in local communities.
Bowdin et al (2011) argues that many events are formed because of the ‘problems’ in society and by staging an event its organisers address those problems which in turn might generate disagreement or protest. The origins of the Parade are closely linked to protest and resistance in response to discrimination and violence towards LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community (Merkel, 2014). These actions of protest and resistance are, according to Foucault’s (1980) theory, can be referred to the power of resistance in response to the power of discipline by government. Those issues of power arose because of government’s actions or inactions. But what exactly the ‘power’ is? How can it be defined?
It is not easy to define ‘power’ as there is a large volume of published studies describing the role of power with various definitions. Dahl (1957:202 cited in Merkel, 2014:4) suggests that “power is often understood as the ability to make somebody do something which they would have otherwise not done”. However, his definition has a number of limitations and does not include all kinds of power, whereas Russell’s (1995) definition of power is more suitable for this essay. He states that power is “the capacity of some persons to produce intended and foreseen effects on others” (Russell, 1995 cited in Merkel, 2014:4). His definition allows us to consider power as a broader area of influence which is not necessarily negative. Moreover, Russell (1938, cited in Merkel, 2014) identifies various forms of power with different levels of importance and powerfulness. He acknowledges a power of wealth, armaments and influence on opinion. Russell’s (1938) definition of power is similar to Foucault’s (1980) understanding of power as they both agree that power changes together with the society and moves from one group to another. Based on Foucault’s research Gallagher (2008:396) claims that “power is a form of a social control” which Foucault (1976) defines as ‘dispositif’. This term refers to various discursive and administrative mechanisms such as: institutions, regulations, laws, discourses and administrative procedures which all together enhance and maintain the exercise of power within the society (Gaventa, 2003). Foucault (1976) suggests that ‘dispositif’ are the links between heterogeneous elements; however, those links can be understood as power relations which again, are very different. Foucault (1980, cited in Schirato et al, 2012:26) states that “power is not a thing, nor is it possessed by individuals or groups. Rather, it is both a complex flow and a set of relations between different groups and areas of society that changes with circumstances and time”. Foucault’s (1980) definition of power suits this essay as in case of London Pride Parade power was flowing between different communities and administrations since 1990’s when same-sex marriage and LGBT+ community rights became an increasingly important topic of discussion.
the above is my draft which I want the writer to use. This essay has to discuss Foucault’s power theory ‘actions over actions’ to prove the argument that power circulates from one group to another. Please include ‘power of discipline’, ‘power of knowledge’ power of resistance and/or discourse. This essay has to demonstrate a clear understanding of the theory. Community can be used instead of the government as a key stakeholder. Please ensure you address stakeholder needs and how they have been met. Finish the essay with viable recommendations for improvements.
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