Understanding culture in terms of relationships of power is what lies behind the argument that questions of meaning, interpretation, and identity are political issues, and that we can talk about ‘cultural politics’ or ‘the politics of identity.’ Power is often defined in terms of one set of people exerting power over another set of people, or over space, or nature, or the landscape in order to control them and their meanings in various ways. This ‘negative’ definition of power is useful in that it makes it clear that there are different interests and that they can come into conflict (often over cultural issues). It also raises the question of the forms of resistance (again often cultural) which contest the exercise of power. However, we might also understand power as being ‘positive.’ This means that power is not just about preventing things from happening, it is also the capacity to make things happen. Here power is part of all sorts of forms of social and cultural construction. Power is involved in constituting identities (including those of the individuals or social groups who are understood to ‘hold’ power), social relations (such as the relationships between men and women), and cultural geographies (such as the definition of national identities, or of ‘East’ and ‘West’ in Orientalism). (9-10)
Ogborn, Miles. “Knowledge is Power: Using Archival Research to Interpret State Formation.” Cultural Geography in Practice. Ed. Alison Blunt, et al. Oxford UP, 2003: 9-22.
Allen, Amy. "Feminist Perspectives on Power." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (July 7, 2016)
Koopman, Colin. "The Power Thinker." Aeon (March 15, 2017) ["Original, painstaking, sometimes frustrating and often dazzling. Foucault’s work on power matters now more than ever"]
Lukes, Stephen. Power: A Radical View. Palgrave-Macmillan, 2005.
"Power (Social and Political)." Wikipedia (Ongoing archive)
"Rape Culture Syllabus." Public Books (October 15, 2016) ["Scholars and activists, poets and playwrights have been writing about rape for centuries. What would the conversation around sexual assault, police bias, and the legal system look like if investigators, police officers, and judges read deeply into the literature on sexuality, racial justice, violence, and power? It is in view of this question that the following syllabus is offered as a scholarly resource—and object of critical discussion and debate—on “rape culture” in the 21st century."]
Williams, Kristian. Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America. South End Press, 2007.