Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Power and Powerlessness
Terri L. Jashinsky & Melissa K. Smothers
Power is a broad concept that is used in many contexts, including sociological and psychological realms. The term power has become so expanded and widely used that some believe it has lost strength in its use and value. Diverse conceptualizations of the power construct exist, which are based on the differing theories and philosophies that are present in research and literature. Power may be described as the ability or practice of exerting control over others or as the capability to influence others. Power is also presented as an innate ability to take action to make changes in one's life or in a community, nation, or the world. Three identified types of power include force, influence, and authority. Force may be put forth through physical power, psychological power, or social power. Influence suggests the exercise of personal power, and authority includes traditional authority, legal or rational authority, and authority based The ...