Phenomena of Power

Phenomena of Power : Authority, Domination, and Violence

3.5 (10 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by  , Introduction by  , Introduction by 

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In Phenomena of Power, one of the leading figures of postwar German sociology reflects on the nature, and many forms of, power. For Heinrich Popitz, power is rooted in the human condition and is therefore part of all social relations. Drawing on philosophical anthropology, he identifies the elementary forms of power to provide detailed insight into how individuals gain and perpetuate control over others. Instead of striving for a power-free society, Popitz argues, humanity should try to impose limits on power where possible and establish counterpower where necessary. Phenomena of Power delves into the sociohistorical manifestations of power and breaks through to its general structures. Popitz distinguishes the forms of the enforcement of power as well as of its stabilization and institutionalization, clearly articulating how the mechanisms of power work and how to track them in the social world. Philosophically trained, historically informed, and endowed with keen observation, Popitz uses examples ranging from the way passengers on a ship organize deck chairs to how prisoners of war share property to illustrate his theory.
Long influential in German sociology, Phenomena of Power offers a challenging reworking of one of the essential concepts of the social sciences.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 22.86mm | 498.95g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0231175949
  • 9780231175944
  • 1,871,662

Table of contents

Editors' Introduction Translator's Note Acknowledgments 1. The Concept of Power Part I: Forms of Enforcement 2. Violence 3. Threatening and Being Threatened 4. The Authority Bond 5. Needs for Authority: The Change in Social Subjectivity 6. Technical Action Part II: Forms of Stabilization 7. Processes of Power Formation 8. Power and Domination: Stages of the Institutionalization of Power Notes Index
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Review Text

"Finally, the phenomenology of power, developed by one of the most creative German social theorists of the post-war era, reaches the English-speaking world. Written in the style of Georg Simmel, it offers a goldmine of insights for contemporary discussions." Hans Joas, Humboldt University, Berlin, and University of Chicago
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Review quote

Long counted among the classics of German postwar sociology, Heinrich Popitz's Phenomena of Power is an elegant and unique anthropological study of power. This excellent translation will add an independent perspective to the Anglophone world's discourse on power and will also open up numerous new points for analysis and comparison. -- Ulrich Brockling, Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat Freiburg In times of globalization, localization, and rapid technicization, the appearance of power becomes increasingly complicated. Its inquiry calls for a comprehensive theoretical viewpoint, like the one Heinrich Popitz develops in Phenomena of Power. He conceives of power as one of essential phenomena of human sociation, distinguishes four fundamental and anthropological forms of power, and articulates them in detail. Readers of this volume will acquire an appropriate viewpoint for inquiring into power. -- Hisashi Nasu, Waseda University, Japan
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About Heinrich Popitz

Heinrich Popitz (1925-2002) was professor of sociology and founding director of the Institute for Sociology at the University of Freiburg. In 1971-72, he was Theodor Heuss Professor at the New School for Social Research. Gianfranco Poggi is professor of sociology at the University of Trento and emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and the European University Institute.
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Rating details

10 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 10% (1)
4 30% (3)
3 60% (6)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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