Recognised as study group in 1983, and granted research committee status in 1991, RC36 focuses on six dimensions of political power: conceptual analysis, political power structures (the constitution of power), power in configurations/policy networks, forms and resources of power, measuring power, and understanding the impact of globalisation and internationalisation of political, economic and administrative phenomena upon the nature of power.

Members represent many analytical perspectives and research traditions, including sociological theory, analytical political theory, postmodern perspectives, empirical case studies, international relations, feminist analysis, and comparative research.