Reflections on Seven Ways of Creating Power

European Journal of Social Theory 6 (1):87-113 (2003)
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Abstract

In this article it is argued that social power can be created based upon either the reproduction of social order or coercively but that in complex societies the former is the more important. Building upon the ideas of a number of authors - including Arendt, Parsons, Barnes, Bachrach and Baratz, Lukes, Giddens, Foucault and Clegg - a typology of seven forms of power creation is developed in a manner which allows for diverse phenomena from previously divergent perspectives to be woven together into a theoretical whole which renders them commensurable. At the foundational level, social order presupposes the recreation of shared meanings which enable actors to act in collaboration in a way which they could not otherwise do. This observation is used as the basic premise from which to re-examine the reproduction of social order and the relationship between power, structure and knowledge. Among other things, this allows the author to render Lukes' `false consciousness' argument commensurable with Foucault's power/knowledge hypothesis.

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