I argue that 'negative' freedom or freedom as absence of impediment is better described as freedom within a putative 'private' sphere, where individuals are allegedly protected from the coercive interference of other agents. As such it is characterised by four problems as an account of freedom under modern conditions. I then consider two alternatives, within which freedom is identified with politics or political action, and argue that they are therefore also inappropriate for understanding modern freedom. Yet, I do not discard them completely. In the main part of the paper, I draw on Machiavelli's emphasis on institutionalised class conflict as constitutive of freedom and propose a conception of freedom that captures the manifold conditions for freedom of action today. This realistic, modern conception of freedom identifies freedom with power across four domains; and it follows from this, I argue pace Pettit, that representative, partisan political institutions are requirements for freedom and democracy.
I make two main points in response to the two great articles on my book Freedom is Power: Liberty Through Political Representation (FIP) published in this issue of Theoria. First, I assess the power of ideas, especially vis-à-vis the important imperative to decolonise knowledge production, taking on board much of Boisen and Murray’s arguments while qualifying their tendency to overstate the case for the power of ideas. I then comment on Allsobrook’s criticism of my attempt in FIP to marry Foucault’s view of power with my genealogical account of needs. I take on board his main concern and then argue – all too briefly – that his alternative ‘rights recognition thesis’ fails to escape his own critique of my needs-based view of freedom as power aimed at overcoming domination.
University Press, 2014). But Hamilton develops here (pp. 91–92) two lines of critique in Sen's account of freedom as power. First, Sen neglects to account for the material and discursive power relations that determine not only the political agenda but also
Christopher J. Allsobrook
influence that is constantly shaping freedom. Hamilton’s conception of freedom as power incorporates a Foucauldian understanding of power as a set of social relations and interactions which shapes all subjectivity and discourse, including freedom. I argue
Marta Nunes da Costa
conceptualisation of freedom as power. Now, this conceptualisation must be understood while keeping in mind the displacement that Hamilton does from the perspective of ‘who rules?’ to ‘what kind of politically and economically organised society enables the
The Power Dynamics of Knowledge Production in Political Thought
Camilla Boisen and Matthew C. Murray
, why not? How does the approach in this book differ from that defended by postcolonial theorists? What are the implications of the enduring forms of cultural marginality identified by postcolonial thought for the account of freedom as power? Hamilton