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The Grammars of 'Power'

Between Contestation and Mediation

Mark Rigstad

In light of the pragmatic aspirations of ordinary language philosophy, this essay critically examines the competing grammatical strictures that are often set forth within the theoretical discourse of 'power'. It repudiates both categorically appraisive employments of 'power' and the antithetical urge to fully operationalize the concept. It offers an attenuated defense of the thesis that 'power' is an essentially contestable concept, but rejects the notion that this linguistic fact stems from conflict between antipodal ideological paradigms. Careful attention to the ordinary pragmatics of power-language evinces the prospects for integrating various context-specific aspects of power and mediating between traditionally divergent theoretical frameworks.

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Power and Freedom

Opposite or Equivalent Concepts?

Pamela Pansardi

The aim of this work is to offer an assessment of the conceptual relations between 'power' and 'freedom'. The two concepts are normally thought of as standing in a relation of mutual exclusion, and are often defined in reciprocal terms: while being free means not being subject to someone's power, to have power is to constrain someone's freedom. In this article I propose a more detailed interpretation of their conceptual relations, distinguishing between two different cases. In the case in which power and freedom are understood as properties of two different individuals involved in a social relation, I shall argue that they are not necessarily in a relation of mutual exclusion: power can be exercised in ways which do not reduce, and which might even increase, the power-subject's freedom. In the case, by contrast, in which they are understood as properties of the same individual, I shall claim that power and freedom show a significant degree of correspondence.

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Peter Morriss

In this article, I try to embark on an understanding of the work that the concept of freedom does, by distinguishing it from the concept of power. When we are interested in our power, we are interested in what we are able (and not able) to do; it is plausible to think that when we are interested in freedom, we are interested in something else. The article is largely concerned with looking for this 'something else'. I suggest that freedom differs from power in focusing on the constraints that we are (or are not) under. When we are interested in freedom, the importance of these constraints is not particularly that they stop us doing things, because that is covered by considering our powers. I suggest that the constraints are important - if they are important at all - because some constraints insult our dignity. This suggests an alternative approach to the current focus on freedom as a property of actions: that of freedom as a property of persons. This idea is explored and defended. In a final section on republican freedom, I argue, against Pettit, that there is no distinctive concept of republican freedom (as distinct from the standard liberal understanding of freedom); but that there is a different - and a highly attractive - political theory present in republicanism.

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Power

A Radical View

Laurence Piper

Power: a Radical View (Second Edition), by Steven Lukes. London: Palgrave, 2005. ISBN: 0-333-42092-6.

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Marta Nunes da Costa

Lawrence Hamilton. Freedom Is Power: Liberty through Political Representation . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. ISBN: 9781107062962 (hbk) Are South Africans Really Free? Setting the Stage for Hamilton’s Discussion Are South Africans

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Apartheid of Thought

The Power Dynamics of Knowledge Production in Political Thought

Camilla Boisen and Matthew C. Murray

In his book, Freedom Is Power (2015), Lawrence Hamilton argues ‘against those who de-politicise freedom through a romantic conception of ‘the people’ and faith in supposedly independent judicial and liberal institutions’ and makes the assertion

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Christopher J. Allsobrook

In two recent books – Freedom Is Power: Liberty through Political Representation ( FIP ) and Are South Africans Free? – Lawrence Hamilton has developed and elaborated what he calls a ‘radically new’ conception of freedom. He argues that this

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Objects of Dispute

Planning, Discourse, and State Power in Post-War France

Edward Welch

engendered were produced by and through discourse and narrative. As the Schéma directeur was translated into built forms on the ground, it demonstrated the power of statements, and particularly statements made by the state, to produce changes in empirical

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Getting into Local Power

The Politics of Ethnic Minorities in British and French Cities

Erik Blech

Romain Garbaye, Getting into Local Power: The Politics of Ethnic Minorities in British and French Cities (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005).

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Lawrence Hamilton

This is the second of two special issues on freedom and power to be published seriatim in Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory. The contributors to this issue analyse the relationship between freedom and power in fascinating ways. Issue 131 was arranged in terms of intellectual historical chronology, focusing on the work of Hobbes, Spinoza, Hegel, Adorno and Arendt, amongst others. This time the contributors are concerned less with intellectual history and more with conceptual, exegetic and contemporary matters.