Re: power <debate>

thomas w kavanagh (tkavanag@INDIANA.EDU)
Sun, 10 Mar 1996 18:31:41 -0500

On Sun, 10 Mar 1996, Michael Cahill wrote:

> I am increasingly inclined toward
> the view that the powerful are significantly different from other people on
> the inside.

Who was it that said, "the rich are different from you and me: they have
more money."

While it may well be true that there are personality differences between
the powerful and the powerless, there is more to the success of the
powerful and the lack of success by the powerless than personality (if
there wasn't, historians would all be psychologists).

There are important and significant social structural/ cultural factors
(remember we *are* an anthro list). I am sure even Dr Rohrlich would agree
that even the most Type A female still faces structural limitations on her
ability to gain power.

Other "organizational" (historical) limitations include such things as the
lack of relatives: remember Sandombu in Victor Turner's Schism and
Continuity. He had all the drive and ambition, but he lacked the social
linkages and supporters.

Similarly, in Comanche culture, a leader is expected to be liberal in the
distribution of wealth. In the 1930s, when the basic Comanche ethnography
was done (Hoebel 1940), there were no Comanche chiefs. But that was the
result of historical on-the-ground organizational factors rather than a
structural non-recognition of power: no one had any money. But just
because there wasn't a chief didn't mean no one wanted to be chief!