8 Power

The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to to govern. Every class is unfit to govern…
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Lord Acton (1834-1902)

  • Chapter Case Study – The Peoples Temple: Jonestown Massacre, based on an investigation conducted by Cable News Network (CNN ), provides a substantial amount of background information on the group lead by Jim Jones that suicided en masse.
  • National Public Radio’s broadcast of the story “Father Cares” is based on actual tape recordings made at Jonestown and recovered by the FBI after the suicides. Airing in 1981, the documentary was written by James Reston, Jr and Noah Adams, and produced by Deborah Amos. Other pages pertaining to cults include Cult Controversy by the Washington Post.
  • Obedience in Retrospect,by Alan Elms, provides a first-hand account of the Milgram experiments and considers a number of issues that related to that work
  • Milgram Replicated, by ABC news, reports a recent replication by Professor Jerry Burger of the Milgram study.
  • UnderstandingPower, by Maire Dugan, provides a basic overview of power dynamics
  • The Religious Movements Page, by Jeffrey K. Hadden at the University of Virginia, provides a great deal of information about religious movements and the power to influence (“brainwash”) their members (this page is not always available)
  • The Prison Experiment, developed by Phillip Zimbardo, offers a detailed slide show examining the methods and results of this analysis of the power of social roles
  • Abu Ghraib, the prison in Iraq where American soldiers humiliated and tortured prisoners, illustrates a variety of obedience processes. See
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