Locations and Forms of power
First of all I would like to give a definition of «Power». It’s the ability or official capacity to exercise control or authority over others. It can be a person, a group, or a nation having great influence over people. Power is exercised through a variety of relationships sustained or accepted, often internalized.
Power affects more than personal relationships, it shapes larger dynamics like social groups, professional organizations, and governments. There can be good or bad types of power. The notion of power implies a basic division between those who have and exercise power and those who have none or little of it . Even when authority seems absolute, there are always counter-powers which question it, aim at limiting its excesses and resist it. Power can exist in different place, at the different levels. We can evoke the power of a head of state on his nation. A government’s power is not necessarily limited to control of its own citizens. A dominant nation, for instance, will often use its clout to influence or support other governments or to seize control of other nation states. We can also evoke the power of a men or the power of men over women, that is to say, machism.
The concept «Locations and forms of power» includes the differents forms of power, the submission or the opposition over the power.
How can we depict the differents forms of power, in various places ?
To my mind, the document thats seem to best illustrate the notion are a picture from the film Giant by George Stevens, a photography of a worker in 1920s and finally a poster from the second World War
The first document is a photography from Giant, a 1956 American drama film, directed by George Stevens. The document is a black and white picture. In this photography, we can recognize James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor. They were two icons of Hollywood when the film was shot. The woman in the picture is squatting in front of the man and she is looking up at him. He looks really tired. She looks dedicated to him. She seems to be hypnotized. He doesn’t seem to care, he is not even looking at her. She worships him like the Christ on his cross. He is the man so he has got the power of the woman. The symbol of of his power is his life. The rifle can be considered as a phallic stereotypes we can have about men’s superiority over women. Maybe we can consider that this picture represents the relationships between men and women in the mid 1950. The situation has evolved and the place of women in society has changed, but unfortunately not in all countries.
If the photo was taken today, the woman would certainly be standing next to the man. The document illustrates the notion because it shows that in 60 years locations and forms of power have been modified.
I like this document because it’s a cult film, directed during the golden age of Hollywood with world famous actor, even now. Also, the poster of this movie is really famous and it shows the evolution of relationships through the ages.
The second document is a black and white picture taken in 1920. We can see a man who is working very hard. He uses a spanner so as to secure the bolts that are screwed on a steam pump. This picture illustrate the daily routine of a factory worker. This picture is a demonstration of a pure strength. The man looks more like a greek statue than a factory worker. In 1920, woman could work in factories. We can see here that working in a factory, in a man’s job. This picture illustrates all the stereotypes that we can have about man and his strength.
Finally, the last document is a poster encouraging women to work in factories during the WWII. The woman in the poster is really beautiful, feminine and glamorous. She doesn’t really correspond to the image of a factory worker. She has make up on her face, a headscarf to protect her hair and she is got gloves to protect her hands or nails. She looks like a typical pin u girl and yet she is doing a man’s job, using a drill in a steel. The poster shows that she can perfectly do his job just like a man would do it. This idea reenforced by the catch phrase that we can see in the top right.
During WWII, women had to work in factories to help the nation. If a woman can work in a factory it means that it is not dangerous as it used to be. The poster attracted woman in factories because it was a question of necessary during WWII. But the situation helped woman to get some power that they didn’t abandon after the war. Power have been modified because of history. WWII was a starting point of a process of independance for woman. For a long time, the work place in general and the factory more especially were a place for men, a place for male domination. When they began to work in factories, women gained a part of men’s power. In the poster, we can see a marge between male and female worlds : the drill represents the male power whereas the woman looks like a pin up. The two seem to be in harmony.
I think this poster can change mentalities and shows to the society that women can do the same things that men. It’s a kind of equality and this is why I think this document can illustrates the notion.
To conclude, we can consider that in politics and social science, power is the ability to influence the behavior of people. The term authority is often used for power perceived as legitimate by the social structure. Power can be seen as evil or unjust, but the exercise of power is accepted as endemic to humans as social beings. The power of the president of United States over nation is not the same power used by a dictator over his country.