Culture and Concepts of Power

Carlos J. Torelli, Sharon Shavitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations

Abstract

Five studies indicate that conceptualizations of power are important elements of culture and serve culturally relevant goals. These studies provide converging evidence that cultures nurture different views of what is desirable and meaningful to do with power. Vertical individualism is associated with a conceptualization of power in personalized terms (i.e., power is for advancing one's personal status and prestige), whereas horizontal collectivism is associated with a conceptualization of power in socialized terms (i.e., power is for benefiting and helping others). Cultural variables are shown to predict beliefs about appropriate uses of power, episodic memories about power, attitudes in the service of power goals, and the contexts and ways in which power is used and defended. Evidence for the cultural patterning of power concepts is observed at both the individual level and the cultural-group level of analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-723
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume99
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010

Keywords

  • Cultural orientation
  • Culture
  • Power

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