Description of chapter structures

This description of chapter structures is intended as a guide to the PatternsofPower books: to obtain an overview, or to find a particular topic of interest, without having to read the whole book in a linear fashion.

Chapter 2, Assessment Criteria, summarises the way in which power is classified and judged: according to its acceptability to those who are subject to it.  The chapter finishes with a worked example of the book’s method of analysis.

The five dimensions of power – economic power, moral influence, legal powers, political authority, and ungoverned uses of power – are then investigated in more detail, each in its own chapter.  They have similar chapter structures:

Each begins with an overview segment, summarising the nature of that dimension of power, followed by an explanation of the way in which it has been divided into numbered segments.  At the end of each overview, a link is provided to the following chapter – so that readers can gain an overview of the whole book before drilling down into any detail.

Each segment has its own contents list, linking to the numbered sections into which it has been divided: the pattern descriptions.

Each section is a brief stand-alone essay which describes a pattern of power.  They include examples of recent experience, arguments which are commonly associated with them, and the views of some other commentators.

The earlier sections in each chapter form a foundation for the analysis of contentious points in later sections.

Much of the reference material of the bigger sections will now only be available in online sub-sections, to allow for more flexibility in updating.

These five chapters constitute a survey of the patterns of power in today’s world: categorising, clarifying, and assessing how power is used.

Chapter 8 analyses the decision to invade Iraq – which prompted the realisation that a consistent analysis approach was necessary, as described in the Preface.  It therefore provided an appropriate illustration, and a test, of how the book’s approach works.

The closing chapter draws upon the survey of patterns of power, to identify where renegotiation might lead to better results against the four suggested criteria: acceptability, negotiability, inclusiveness, and prudence.

Endnotes identify the Internet source material used, in the paper versions of the book, but the electronic versions use hyperlinks.  Footnotes are used for additional explanation where this might be useful.

The Internet references were live at the time of writing; they provide quick access for readers of electronic formats of this book who are online – so that news articles and speeches can be read in their entirety.

Any individual reader may disagree with the book’s evaluations of some of the patterns of power.  This is inevitable, because acceptability is ultimately a personal matter.  The book will hopefully be updated and improved as readers comment and offer further relevant material.  Emails to will be welcomed.



This description of chapter structures is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at