chapter  one
17 Pages

Political Change: Two Perspectives on Power

WithNancy C.M. Hartsock

Politics is about power—that much is generally agreed upon by practitioners and students of the political—and discussions of politics have included power as a fundamental concern. Political change involves redefining the self, building different kinds of political organizations, gaining economic power for women, and most important, a sense of how each of these arenas for change relates to the interlocking structures of patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism. While leadership and power are not the only issues important in working out questions of organizational structure, they bear on the central issues of political power, and consideration of those problems is useful. The predominance in the movement of middle-class women, who lacked the tradition of women’s strength and independence more frequent among working-class and rural women, also contributed to the identification of leadership and power as oppressive male characteristics. Patriarchy considers work for wages improper for women and imposes the myth of “woman’s place” on working women.