What does it mean to be free? How is freedom related to power? How does the concept of freedom shape our conceptions of democracy? Lawrence Hamilton’s book entitled Freedom Is Power: Liberty through Political Representation offers an alternative conceptualization of freedom to the republican and liberal traditions. Hamilton delineates his framework of analysis starting from a realpolitik approach, with Machiavellian and Foucaultian inspiration: first, by conceiving politics via the lens of conflict instead of consensus; second, by conceiving freedom in terms of power (relations). In this paper we offer an overview of Hamilton’s argument, exploring the steps that lead us to a reconceptualise freedom in terms of power, needs and interests and to rethink the significance, meanings and practices of political representation in a democratic context.
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Ph.D. in Political Science, New School for Social Research