What is power? In the communication area, the word power has a different meaning as we usually know. From Wikipedia, I find the definition of power:
Power can be described as the capacity of an individual or a group (which may lie dormant) to exert their will over another or others (French and Raven, 2001) or influence the goals of a relationship. Power is not a characteristic of any one individual, rather, it is defined in terms of relationships and transactions between people. Power is crucial to the achievement of individual goals, the resolution of conflicts, and to communication competency within a group. Power can be understood within two basic dimensions, a content dimension and a relational dimension.
Power is an important factor to affect the community. The community culture is greatly influenced by the dominant group. Like the Phillips Community, it shows some features of Indian culture since it was a colony of American Indians. Because white people are the majority of the Phillips Community for almost a century, the community is affected most by white people.
The Phillips Community is influenced by other community, too. It is so close to downtown, so there is no doubt it is more modern than other communities which are far away from the central part of Minneapolis. There are many shopping areas beside East Lake Street such as the Hi-Lake Shopping District. The Phillips Community is more prosperous with the influence of downtown.
Power and context are important force to shape the community culture. Context is the basis of the community culture. Power affects how it develops. For the Phillips Community, influence from different cultures affects the development the community a lot. It is easy to see: we can find buildings of different architectural styles; we can find houses with different decorations. Although the residents of the Phillips Community mainly were white people, the community is not like a normal white community. It has three churches, in which one is Spanish church, one is Italian church and one is Indian church. This is not a common view in most communities.
The economic contexts also have a big influence on the Phillips Community. They are important for the community’s development. The economic context, which decides what kind of people will live in the community, is a key factor to determine how the community develops. Like the Phillips Community, its land price is quite low. The land price keeps in a low level in the Phillips Community’s history. This feature appeals people who don’t have much money. And this feature contributes a lot to shape the community. Research shows that crime is related to income: there is always a high crime rate in a low-income community. So the low land price results in high crime rate, and high crime rate results in even lower land price.
The social context is a huge power to change the community, too. The social life in a community can appeal certain group of people and lead the community go to a certain direction. In the Phillips Community, the cultural diversity is a characteristic. The Phillips Community used to be an American Indian colony, which labels the community as a place of minorities. So many minorities moved into the Phillips Community in 20th century. At present, white people only count a quarter in the community. As more culture enters the Phillips Community, residents in the community can accept more different cultures. It is an advantage for community development.
The power of Twin Cities and the Phillips Community affects each other. The Phillips Community is part of Minneapolis, so it is of the same feature of Minneapolis. It is affected by Twin Cities deeply. It also provides “reaction force” to the Twin Cities. By this procedure, both of them develop.
Overall, both of the power from outside and inside of the Phillips Community affect and change it a lot.