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A CRITIQUE OF STEVEN LUKES' 'POWER: A RADICAL VIEW'
Vol. 10, No. 1 (January 1976), pp. 121-127
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http:/stable/42853323
Page Count: 7
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Unconscious mind, Political power, Steels, Collectivities, Pluralist school, Marxism, Capitalism, Democracy, Air pollution, Ignorance
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Steven Lukes' monograph Power: A Radical View (Lukes 1974) offers a critical analysis of pluralist and nondecision theories of power, leading on to a suggested 'three-dimensional view' of power. This view stresses exercises of power that (a) do not entail observable conflicts, but rather latent conflicts; (b) are a 'function of collective forces and social arrangements' (p. 22). In particular, Lukes advances the self-confessedly problematic ideas that such exercises may (1) involve inaction; (2) be unconscious; (3) be wielded by identifiable groups or institutions. However, there are difficulties in Lukes' 'real interests' approach with its claims to be both 'empirically applicable' and 'essentially contested'. Second, Lukes' acceptance of the orientation of the pluralist and nondecision writers as the point of departure in his attempt to supersede them creates a fundamental antimony between his individualist illustrative methodology and his collective inferences. Third, flaws in propositions (1) and (2) above are highlighted. Finally it is suggested that Lukes' position in the structural determinism versus elite voluntarism argument between Poulantzas and Miliband conflicts violently with (3) above, so dividing the essay against itself.
Sociology © 1976 Sage Publications, Ltd.