Soc 232 1
March 1 2013
Neal and Seeman defined powerlessness as a low expectation of control over
events, as lack of control over the political system, the industrial economy, and
international affairs. Their basic idea was that the experience of powerlessness
revolves around subjectively held probabilities that the outcome of political and
economic events cannot be controlled by oneself or, collectively, by persons like
To operationalize their idea,
they provided respondents with the following seven pairs of statements and
asked them to select the statement from each pair that came closest to their
(Extracted from The Methods Coach: Learning through Practice by Lance
Roberts, Karen Kampen and Tracy Peter.)
1. I think we have adequate means for preventing runaway inflation.
There’s very little we can do to keep prices from going higher.
2. Persons like myself have little chance of protecting our personal interests
when they conflict with those of strong pressure groups.
I feel that we have adequate ways of coping with pressure groups.
3. A lasting world peace can be achieved by those of us who work toward it.
There’s very little we can do to bring about permanent world peace.
4. There’s very little persons like myself can do to improve world opinion of
I think each of us can do a great deal to improve world opinion of Canada.
5. This world is run by a few people in power, and there is not much the little
guy can do about it.
The average citizen can have an influence on government decisions.
6. It is only wishful thinking to believe that one can really influence what
happens to society at large.
People like me can ch