A Broad Definition of Agential Power

Journal of Political Power 11 (1):79-92 (2018)

Authors
Pablo Gilabert
Concordia University
Abstract
Can we develop a definition of power that is satisfactorily determinate but also enables rather than foreclose important substantive debates about how power relations proceed and should proceed in social and political life? I present a broad definition of agential power that meets these desiderata. On this account, agents have power with respect to a certain outcome (including, inter alia, the shaping of certain social relations) to the extent that they can voluntarily determine whether that outcome occurs. This simple definition generates a surprisingly complex agenda for substantive research. It is quite fruitful for both descriptive and normative purposes-or so this paper argues. The broad account of agential power offered here is partly developed through a critical engagement with Rainer Forst's important recent account of "noumenal power."
Keywords power  agential power  noumenal power  critical theory  Rainer Forst
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