Power Analysis


Unit 4 Written Exercise: “A Power Analysis” PSY 330ONL Conflict Management Unit 4 Written Exercise: “A Power Analysis” The purpose of this exercise is to explore the dynamics of power in relationships as observers, and so to (perhaps) gain insight into how power affects our own relationships. To do so, you will watch some movies (or movie clips). Follow the instructions below: Background Reading You should have read Chapter 4 in Hocker and Wilmot’s (2014) Interpersonal Conflict, and read through the PowerPoints for the chapter before you do this exercise. The Movies Watch one of the movies listed below. (Note: You do not have to watch an entire movie if you can’t or don’t want to. See below for parts you can watch, if you don’t have time to watch all of it. Some of these films can be found in their entirety on YouTube.) This movie list is chosen for two reasons: (a) Your instructor is familiar with them, and (b) there are interesting power dynamics at work in the relationships, especially in certain scenes. You may suggest a different movie (if you do so early), but your instructor must be very familiar with it, and approve it. (Certain genres work better for this exercise than others.) If necessary, she can find alternatives for you on YouTube that you can watch, if you are having trouble finding what you need. Call her if it is hard for you to obtain one of the movies on the list. Please do not spend a lot of money to get a movie! It is not necessary! Please note (again) that you are not required to watch an entire movie to complete the exercise. Read the instructions below. Contact Your instructor if you cannot obtain one a movie. They are all available via Amazon Prime or YouTube, and on YouTube you may be able to find the relevant portions described below free. Movie 1: Guarding Tess (1994) Nicholas Cage plays a Secret Service agent (“Doug”) who is the agent in charge of security for Shirley MacLaine’s character—the widow of a former president. The ex-first lady is, shall we say, difficult…she keeps ordering her chauffeur to drive off so as to “escape” Secret Service protection. Doug wants a more exciting assignment, and has to continually deal with a stubborn, petulant woman who constantly baits him. Scenes to watch if you’re short for time: Pay particular attention to the early exchanges between the First Lady and Doug, in the early scenes of the movie in which Doug tries to quit his job. Movie 2: Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) Kathy Bates plays a very nice but rather mousy woman, who discovers her voice—and herself—through her visits to a nursing home where she accidentally met (and came to love) an old lady named Mrs. Threadgoode, who told her stories about two feisty young women who used to live in her home town. Scenes to watch if you’re short for time: Find the scene on the DVD entitled “Towanda the Avenger,” during which Bates’ character has an epiphany while trying to find a parking space at the grocery store. (You can find it on YouTube pretty easily.) Movie 3: A Few Good Men (1991) Tom Cruise plays ambitious Navy lawyer Daniel Kaffee, who has never had to work for anything—and seems rather without many strong values, except to win. He is defending (with Demi Moore) two men accused of executing a “code red,” a military “punishment” that they claim they were ordered to perform by their commander Colonel Jessep (Jack Nicholson), which resulted in the death of the person punished, a man named Santiago. Scenes to watch if you’re short for time: Pay particular attention to the scene in which Cruise has brought Nicholson to the witness stand (near the end of the movie). Keep in mind that if you have not seen the movie before, this scene will spoil it for you. In that scene, if Kaffee accuses Jessep directly of a crime, he faces a court-martial. (His friend the prosecutor (Kevin Bacon), as well as the attorneys working with him know this–and try to protect him in subtle ways.) An interesting shift of power occurs in that scene…why? Discuss it. Movie 4: With Honors (1994) Brendan Fraser plays a Harvard senior Monty Kessler, who is working on his honors thesis—hoping to graduate with honors, and so to guarantee his placement in a graduate program. Nothing is more important to him than his thesis paper. One night when he loses his only copy of his thesis in an ironic turn of events, he meets Simon Wilder, a feisty homeless man played by Joe Pesci, who clearly has other priorities. Scenes to watch if you’re short for time: Pay particular attention to the scene in the first few minutes of the movie when Monty tries to get his thesis back from Simon in the boiler room.

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