Pattern Descriptions – Purpose

Each pattern description explains one of the ways in which power is exercised, and offers some of the arguments associated with it; many include some recent examples and references to other literature on the subject.

The underlying concept, as described in the books, is that these patterns constantly recur so it is helpful to recognise them – particularly where power has been used to the disadvantage of some of the population.  The pattern descriptions can then be used to strengthen people’s arguments when holding the powerful to account.

Access to other information on the Internet has been included where possible, and sometimes these links disappear.  They are replaced each time a new edition of the books is published, if not earlier.

Further examples of the patterns inevitably become available and it may be appropriate to insert them, sometimes as replacements for existing citations.

Comments on the material can also be used to strengthen it.  Comments on this website’s blog posts might be used, and comments can also be submitted by email to

If quoting one of the pattern descriptions, please acknowledge its source – either by quoting the title of an appropriate edition of the book or by reference to the copyright holder: