Power structure

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A power structure is the way in which power and authority are organized or distributed in an organization or society. Political sociology has an overall focus on understanding why power structures are the way they are in any given societal context.[1] A power structure focuses on the way power and authority is related between people within groups such as a government, nation, institution, organization, or a society.[2] Such structures are of interest to various fields, including sociology, government, economics, and business. Power structures can be formally organized, such as a military[3] or a church.[4] Conversely, a power structure may be an informal set of roles, such as those found in a dominance hierarchy in which members of a social group interact, often aggressively, to create a ranking system. A culture that is organized in a dominance hierarchy is a dominator culture, the opposite of an egalitarian culture of partnership.[citation needed] A visible, dominant group or elite that holds power or authority within a power structure is often referred to as being the Establishment. Power structures are fluid, with changes occurring constantly, either slowly or rapidly, evolving or revolutionary, peacefully or violently.

See also[edit]

  • Authoritarianism, a political system characterized by the rejection of and opposition to diversity within a political body and the peaceful coexistence of different interests, convictions, and lifestyles.
  • Biopower, nation states' regulation of their subjects through a multitude of techniques for subjugating bodies and controlling populations
  • Elite theory
  • Online participation
  • Plutocracy, an institution ruled and dominated by a small minority of the wealthiest members


  1. ^ Clemens, Elisabeth Stephanie. What is political sociology?. ISBN 978-0-7456-9160-2. OCLC 932385459.
  2. ^ G. William Domhoff, Thomas R. Dye, Power Elites and Organizations (1987), p. 9.
  3. ^ Halvorson, Angela (2010). Understanding the Military: The Institution, the Culture, and the People. SAMHSA. pp. 1–2.
  4. ^ Giangravé, Claire (2021-09-02). "Pope Francis is preparing a radical reform of the church's power structures". Religion News Service. Retrieved 2023-04-17.