12.1:0: Defining Power

In this section, we will explain what power is.


12.1.1: Defining Power

Power is the capacity of an individual, group, or social structure to direct, influence, or control the behaviors, thoughts, and/or feelings of others. The use of power can involve ideology, persuasion, intimidation, coercion, or force and it can be tied to resources, money, institutions, positions, or co-cultural membership (such as gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) Power operates on individual, cultural, and structural levels as well as in our interpersonal relationships. It also generates privilege for individuals and groups of people that hold it and likewise causes disadvantages and oppression for groups who don’t. However, we also have the capacity to empower ourselves and others.

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