European Journal of Social Theory 21 (1):22 - 38 (2018)
AbstractPower is often taken to be a central concept in social and political thought that can contribute to the explanation of many different social phenomena. This article argues that in order to play this role, a general theory of power is required to identify a stable causal capacity, one that does not depend on idiosyncratic social conditions and can thus exert its characteristic influence in a wide range of cases. It considers three promising strategies for such a theory, which ground power in (1) the ability to use force, (2) access to resources, or (3) collective acceptance. It shows that these strategies fail to identify a stable causal capacity. The lack of an adequate general theory of power suggests that the concept lacks the necessary unity to play the broad explanatory role it is often accorded.
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References found in this work
Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 2006 - In Aloysius Martinich, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Early Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.
Power, Action, and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge?John Law (ed.) - 1986 - Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Citations of this work
Social Position and Social Status: An Institutional and Relational Sociological Conception.Zoltán Farkas - forthcoming - Human Studies:1-29.
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