Facing Power—Old Insights, New Questions

Eric R. Wolf

in Pathways of Power

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520223332
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924871 | DOI:
Facing Power—Old Insights, New Questions

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This chapter deals with the problem of power and the issues it poses for anthropology. It reveals that there are different modes of power, each pertaining to a different level of social relations: from power attributed to the endowment of the individual person, to power produced in interpersonal relations, to tactical or organizational power set in motion to direct or limit the action of others, to structural power that informs the thrusts of society. The relation between tactical (or organizational) power and structural power helps to explain the world one inhabits. It aids in understanding anthropology as a cumulative undertaking, as well as a collective quest that moves in ever-expanding circles, a quest that depends upon the contributions of everyone, and for which all are responsible.

Keywords: power; anthropology; social relations; structural power; tactical power

Chapter.  6064 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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