Definition of Places and Forms of Power (mise à jour février 2014)

Il est souvent difficile de trouver des idées pour illustrer chaque notion. N’oubliez pas que certains sujets peuvent être utilisés pour illustrer 2 ou même 3 notions – prenons comme exemple l’histoire de Rosa Parks:

– (myths et héros) une figure emblematique de la lutte contre la ségrégation raciale aux États-Unis

http://www.sparknotes.com/history/american/civilrights/terms.html

– (lieux et formes de pouvoir) les raisons de la lutte contre la ségrégation raciale aux Etats Unis

– (idée du progrès) – comparaison des conditions de vie des afro-américains pendant les années 60 avec les conditions aujourd’hui (un président noir).

Voici donc quelques idées de sujets pour illustrer la notion « Lieux et formes de pouvoir ».

Places and forms of power

« Places » could be important buildings or institutions that represent a certain form of power, for example Buckingham Palace – a symbol of the British monarchy, the White – a symbol of the American presidency.

A place can also be a country or a state –  for example the USA is a state which is powerful enough to influence events throughout the world (superpower) and China is a major economic power in today’s world.

What exactly is power?

It is the ability to control others, events, or resources; the ability to make things happen despite obstacles, resistance, or opposition. This of course leads to conflict between those who have power and those who don’t.

Resistance to power

There are many examples of resistance to power:

the African-American civil rights movement (Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Junior, Malcom X….)

Videos to watch:

– Biography of Rosa Parks

Song « Sister Rosa » about Rosa Parks

– Presentation of the characters from the book and film « The Help » (la Couleur des Sentiments):

trailer from the  film « The Butler »

– interesting page with lots of links about the film « The Butler »

the struggle for liberation in South Africa (Apartheid, Nelson Mandela)

the Suffragettes’ fight for women’s right to vote

Video « Bad romance » : a parody music video paying homage to Alice Paul and the generations of brave women who joined together in the fight to pass the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote in 1920.

Women’s rights movement in the US

 The ability to influence others

The power of the media

If we look at the power of the media for example we can see how much it can influence the public opinion. The mass media plays an important role in forming our personality, enriching our knowledge, providing us with information of any kind.
Mass media can have an effect on our personal identity: it can help us to feel that we are part of a group (social networks) but on the other hand it can contribute to a feeling of isolation.

Media can have a strong political influence or can shape the way we perceive certain groups of society – minority groups, pressure groups…mass media is powerful because it makes us believe what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour (reality TV).

However it can also have harmful impact on society:

– On-screen violence leading to actual violence (violent video games/films)

– Identity or financial fraud on the internet people to fraud, especially identity fraud.

– the dangers for children who are able to access Internet material inappropriate for their age.

– The Internet can facilitate an invasion of privacy – (chat rooms, social networks, bullying)

Economic and political power

– The European Union – past, present and future

– the « superpowers » ( states with a dominant position in the international system with the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests – e.g. USA)

– emerging countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China, are now playing an increasingly important role in the global economy, with this group of four powerful developing economies sometimes referred to as the BRIC countries)

The power of guns

– The debate on gun control in the USA

Finally an interesting quote to illustrate this notion:

quote-the-means-by-which-we-live-have-outdistanced-the-ends-for-which-we-live-our-scientific-power-has-martin-luther-king-jr-102519