Beyond power: Unbridging Foucault and Weber [Book Review]

European Journal of Social Theory 16 (1):36-50 (2013)
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Today, very few would doubt that there are plenty of reasons to liken Weber’s and Foucault’s theories of power. Nevertheless, their respective works have divergent ethical and ontological preoccupations which should be reconsidered. This article explores Foucault’s account of a historical episode in Discipline and Punish and Weber’s theory of life spheres, uncovering evidence that there is a need to reassess the conceptual bridges which have been built so far. The exploration reveals a radical difference between a monological theory of power and a multidimensional approach to power. Yet by unbridging the two thinkers and focusing on other aspects of their theories along with their ideas about power, we also find that alternative links between the two frameworks may offer a more promising critical theory.



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