ABSTRACT

The exercise of power and the experience of powerlessness are implicit in all the forms of inequality. The relationships between the wealthy and nonwealthy, men and women, gay and straight people, and Blacks and Whites are frequently mediated by the relative economic, social, and cultural power of these groups and by the intersections of power between groups. Power also has a narrow political meaning as well, relating to the varied involvement and impact of individuals and groups in the national government. Power differentials shape our work worlds as well. In this chapter, we examine the political and daily arenas of power, beginning with a discussion of the images of political power structure in the United States then moving to a review of evidence that bears on those images.