Material Type:
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Oss0212
  • Power
  • Power Organization
  • Sociology
  • Theories of Power
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Describe theories of power organization and identify what groups and/or individuals have power according to those theories


    OER Text material

    Theories of Power and Society

    Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World. This section reviews pluralism and power elite theory, assessing brief weaknesses of both.

    Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)

    “The Power Elite” by G. William Domhoff

    Power in America: The Class-Domination Theory of Power. Domhoff addresses a theory of power elites constituting elites from: the social upper class, the corporate community, and the policy-planning network

    “Crowd-Sourcing the Revolving Door” by Lambert Strether

    Naked Capitalism: Fearless Commentary on Financial, Economics, Politics and Power, January 2, 2012. This site illustrates the overlapping positions between elites who have held positions of power within the Federal Government and in major corporations.  Disclaimer: The original source and infographic was crafted by David Kramer with an apparent political bias as he recorded very few Republican overlaps.

    “Former Members” in Open Secrets: Center for Responsive Politics

    This site documents former members of Congress who have or are currently working as lobbyists.

    Politics: Crash Course Sociology (Video)

    Abstract: Today we’re looking at the sociological approach to politics, different types of authority and political systems, and different sociological theories of power.


    “Power Elite Database” in Who Rules America?

    Summary: A searchable database of the "Power Elite" in the U.S. (as of 2011-2012), defined as the intersection of the boards of directors of the corporate community, the extremely wealthy and well-connected, and the boards and trustees of the policy-planning network.