The Nature of Power

The Nature of Power

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This work presents a challenging theory concerning the nature of power. Discussing most of the conventional theories, Barnes points to a number of major shortcomings. Some theories merely coin synonyms for power, while others examine the effects of, and beliefs about, power rather than analyzing power per se. Others again, notably Talcott Parsons, offer genuinely interesting accounts of the nature of power deriving from and dependent upon untenable theories of the nature of society and social order. Developing an original perspective of his own, Barnes sees power residing in the routines of social life and in the capacity for action which those routines represent. To be able to direct the routines of a society is to possess power within it. And the question of who is and who is not so able is established as an aspect of the distribution of knowledge in the society. Such an account offers fresh insights into the nature of power, and suggests interesting new ways of distinguishing between power, authority and influence. This book should be of interest to those teaching and researching in many areas of sociology and politics, and an aid to those teaching and researching in this more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 152 x 230 x 22mm | 480.81g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 3 figures, notes, bibliography
  • 0745600735
  • 9780745600734

Table of contents

Part 1 The concept of power: common-sense usage; sociological refinement; a theory of power; social order. Part 2 Hobbes' problem: social order as cognitive order; society as a distribution of knowledge. Part 3 The nature of power: social power; delegation; de-localization. Part 4 Divide and rule: conditions for a reliable human machine; succession; acquiescence and legitimacy; unity is strength. Part 5 Acting for the collective good: the incidence of collective more

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