Power, Politics, and Government



type of power exercised over people and accepted as legitimate by members of society


class that owns property, including owning and controlling the means of production

class consciousness

awareness of shared economic, social, and political circumstances leading to an understanding that working together with others in the same class is necessary in order to solve problems faced by all members of the class

class struggle

key concept in Marxist analysis, referring to the conflict between classes as they try to advance their own goals and interests


type of thinking that occurs when a group makes irrational or ineffective decisions because its members value agreement and harmony over individuality or creativity

interest group

group with a specific focus, need, or goal

means of production

facilities and resources, such as tools, factory buildings, and machinery, used for manufacturing goods

military-industrial complex

alliance in U.S. society composed of a powerful military and businesses that supply or work with the military, funded by the federal government


theory that power is, or should be, distributed among multiple interest groups in society


ability of individuals or groups to achieve their goals, despite resistance from others

power elite

small group of individuals within the government, the military, and large corporations who hold the majority of power in a society


working class, members of which own only their own labor. Members are forced to sell their labor because they have no control over the means of production.


form of conflict involving violence, generally waged by nonstate actors (individuals and groups rather than governments) for political ends