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Power: A Radical View [Paperback]

Steven Lukes
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 20.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

11 Oct 2004 0333420926 978-0333420928 2
In this second edition of a seminal work, Steven Lukes' reconsiders his views in light of recent debates and of criticisms of his original argument. With a new introduction and bibliographical essay, this book will consolidate its reputation as a classic work and a major reference point within social and political theory.

Frequently Bought Together

Power: A Radical View + Power: The Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984: Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984 v. 3 (Essential Works of Foucault 3) + Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (Penguin Social Sciences)
Price For All Three: 40.57

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2 edition (11 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333420926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333420928
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'Like the first edition, which it includes, this is a truly superb volume. It will, in thirty years' time, remain a - possibly the - classic treatment of power in the English language.' - Professor Colin Hay, University of Birmingham

'This wonderful extended version - effectively a new book - deepens and refines the conceptual, empirical and moral attributes of Power...No one concerned with politics can afford to miss this masterful clarification of power as capacity.' - Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University

'Three decades after the publication of his classic essay on power, Lukes has pulled off one of the rarest feats in social science. He has written a new and better edition of a classic. He does this by drawing from a major critical movement he had neglected (feminism), addressing the most influential alternative new explanations of power (Foucault and James Scott), and most importantly, incorporating recent seminal arguments (especially Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum's about universally necessary 'human capabilities') he is able to reformulate and strengthen his original thesis about the existence of a third dimension of power; the social construction of practices, ideologies and institutions that secure a consent to domination and call for strategies that simultaneously disempower and empower.' - Alfred Stepan, Wallace Sayre Professor of Government, Columbia University

'Thirty years ago, Steven Lukes stirred up an intellectual firestorm with his radical analysis of power. Now he is doing it again. Thank heaven!' - Professor Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University

'Like the first edition, which it includes, this is a truly superb volume. It will, in thirty years' time, remain a - possibly the - classic treatment of power in the English language.' - Professor Colin Hay, University of Birmingham

'Three decades ago, Steven Lukes elucidated why and how we should study power. His 'radical view' quickly achieved must-read status. This wonderful extended version - effectively a new book - deepens and refines the conceptual, empirical and moral attributes of Power...No one concerned with politics can afford to miss this masterful clarification of power as capacity.' - Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University
'Like the first edition, which it includes, this is a truly superb volume. It will, in thirty years' time, remain a - possibly the - classic treatment of power in the English language.' - Professor Colin Hay, University of Birmingham.

'This wonderful extended version - effectively a new book - deepens and refines the conceptual, empirical and moral attributes of Power. No one concerned with politics can afford to miss this masterful clarification of power as capacity.' - Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University.

'Three decades after the publication of his classic essay on power, Lukes has pulled off one of the rarest feats in social science. He has written a new and better edition of a classic. He does this by drawing from a major critical movement he had neglected (feminism), addressing the most influential alternative new explanations of power (Foucault and James Scott), and most importantly, incorporating recent seminal arguments (especially Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum).' - Alfred Stepan, Wallace Sayre Professor of Government, Columbia University.

'Thirty years ago, Steven Lukes stirred up an intellectual firestorm with his radical analysis of power. Now he is doing it again. Thank heaven!' - Professor Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University.

About the Author

STEVEN LUKES is Professor of Sociology at New York University, USA. He has previously held professorships at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, the University of Siena, Italy, the European University Institute, Italy, and Balliol College, Oxford, UK. His many published works include Moral Conflict and Politics, Marxism and Morality, Essays in Social Theory, Individualism, and Emile Durkheim: His Life and Work.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of its type 26 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback
This is a new and much expanded version of a classic work on the nature of power. Lukes describes three types of power, and considers various explanations of it. His preference is a definition in "three dimensions", which captures the fact that power not only enables people to get what they want, it also intimidates others from even asking for what they themselves want in the first place. The new edition includes a substantial discussion of Foucault, most of whose work was done after the first edition appeared. This is a very rich book in spite of its brevity, and a book that anyone at all interested in the subject should read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars slightly foxed 10 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book looks quite new but I was disappointed to find about 5 pages completely scored with red pen. Some student somewhere wanted to ruin this book for everyone else... A little disappointed as the book as advertised as being in good condition. I wouldn't have bought it if I had known about the red pen.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting interpretation of power 1 Mar 2011
By Rosyn
Format:Paperback
I read this book as the work of steven lukes was breifly covered in my studies, and anyone studying an area of the social sciences will find great benefit from reading the really interesting book
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power has three faces 23 Sep 2008
By Humblebee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is essential reading for those interested in the dynamics of power relations and, in particular, how power works to either enhance or undermine democratic participation in society. Over the course of the three essays that constitute the second edition of this book, Lukes develops an idea of power in three dimensions. In the first dimension, power is clearly visible in decision-making processes, where A exercises power over B when A's policy preferences, reflecting A's subjective interests, prevail over B's. Here, power is discernible only where a conflict of interests informs open debate over a public issue. This conflict gives rise to divergent policy preferences competing for public acceptance and political validation.

However, if one were to confine the study of power to its effects in the first dimension, that is, to the outcomes of decision-making processes, one misses other aspects of power detected in the biases of non-decision-making. Non-decision-making power is the power to keep certain issues off the table: it is the power to deny certain individuals or groups access to decision-making processes, and thus to prevent certain grievances from being translated into public issues. While decision-making power, as seen in the first dimension, may be widely distributed among various groups and individuals who alternately succeed in promoting their interests, there may be at the same time unity among these otherwise conflicting interests in preventing certain segments of the population from contributing to the discussion. The second dimension of power consists in this ability to control the agenda, to decide what gets decided--and what doesn't. Here, as in power's first dimension, power is again seen in a conflict situation, only the conflict is now covert, rendered invisible by non-decision-making power.

The third dimension of power incorporates and transcends power's first and second faces. Those who study three-dimensional power recognize not only power as it is exercised in the first and second dimensions but also power where it need not be so exercised. This occurs in the apparent absence of conflict, where power can be seen as the capacity to secure compliance to domination and thereby prevent conflicts or grievances from arising in the first place.

The third face of power is not directly visible, because the securing of willing compliance to domination does not require an explicit exercise of power. However, the mechanisms of such power (domination) are empirically accessible. They may involve the furthering of the material interests of the dominated within certain limits, as part of a class compromise, or they may involve the inculcation of ideologies that bring the dominated to accept the power structure of society as the "natural order of things" or as being divinely established. In both cases, which are not mutually exclusive, the "true interests" of the dominated are obscured; and the dominated are misled to act contrary to their real interests, chief among them being, one may argue, an interest in NOT being dominated and in having more freedom to live according to "the dictates of one's own nature and judgment."

Of course, as Lukes admits, "true interests" is a contested term. There doesn't seem to be a rigid set of objective interests with which everyone can readily identify. Rather than supplying a universal answer to the question of true interests, Lukes responds to this difficulty by providing a set of guidelines for identifying people's interests. The answer, Lukes argues, always depends on three things: the purpose of one's inquiry, one's theoretical framework, and the methods used.

Lukes also recognizes another difficulty in discussing the idea of true interests: It almost always leads to the notion of "false consciousness." False consciousness is a controversial idea, because it is often assumed to have condescending, elitist connotations. However, Lukes regards false consciousness as simply the result of being misled, many instances of which throughout history can be easily identified without much controversy. The mechanisms of false consciousness include censorship, disinformation, and "the promotion and sustenance of all kinds of failures of rationality and illusory thinking, among them the `naturalization' of what could be otherwise and the misrecognition of the sources of desire and belief" (p.149).

The third face of power, as developed by Lukes, expands the conceptual territory of power and reorients its study to include instances of power that escape the attention of those who conceive of power too narrowly, thereby limiting their observations to the realm of political participation. With this book, Lukes makes a vital contribution to the sociological study of power by revealing it as "capacity," and by showing how power works most effectively (and insidiously) when it is hidden.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crystal clear social thought 30 April 2008
By M. Schaeffer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is probably the clearest social science book I have ever read.

Lukes deals with a vast topic and still manages to write a short and very precise book that gives a great overview about the standpoints in the discussion and presents an own convincing argument.

The first part of the book was situated in a specific debate and only deals with the asymmetrical exercise of power by A over B. Lukes third view on power adds that power might be exercised even in the absence of conflict. For example by shaping other peoples interests.

The next two chapters were written more recently and widen the focus to Power as a capacity and the question if power was a capacity, how can it be a meaningful and explanatory concept in the social sciences.

This book is easy to read not because it is an easy introduction to the debate. It is easy to read, because Lukes formulates his argument with huge precision.
5.0 out of 5 stars Ever asked "How is it even possible to have elected =that= person?"? 5 Mar 2014
By G Krasichynski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A short but amazing read. I must have read it 15 times by now. Of the three types of power, as this easy to read, wonderfully cogent book describes, one is different, more persuasive, more seductive, infinitely darker, and when we ask ourselves what went wrong with the world - the answers are right there, laid out for us.

While revealing and precise, academically sound and balanced, it is the simplicity with which it describes very complex dynamics and the clarity it lends to ideas that everybody should know that makes it so impressive. Each time I read it, I get a little more from it!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read: A mind blowing read on power 31 Jan 2012
By Sunny - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was assigned this text for a graduate course and it is very interesting. While it was hard to get my mind around the concepts of Lukes' views on power, once I did, I understood the material and understand why he is a leader in this field.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brief and Helpful Introduction 3 Feb 2012
By Duane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A brief and extremely helpful introduction to the topic of power, and specifically the sociology of power in a political context. My own area of interest is specifically the study of religious conversion from Islam to Christianity and there is much to help here in this book. The author analyzes how power is not only exercised in overt, positive actions, but how power can also be exercised by not allowing issues to surface for open discussion, or even by not allowing a group to learn of a possible interest. That is actually very applicable to the topic of conversion from Islam to Christianity. In the last decades the Internet, the rise of migration and satellite TV (and other things as well) have all made the Christian message available as a live option to Muslims both within and outside of the Muslim world. Previously the political and religious authorities were able to use their power to stymie knowledge of the possibility of becoming Christian (a potential interest for people not satisfied with Islam for whatever reason). That has changed. Lukes' work gives us a helpful and well-informed framework for analyzing these changes.
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