Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

School of Political Science & Sociology Seminar Series: ‘The Four Dimensions of Power: Empowerment, Domination and Democracy’

February 27 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


February 27
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Room 333, Aras Moyola


Niall Ó Dochartaigh

This seminar is based upon Prof Haugaard’s forthcoming book The Four Dimensions of Power: Empower, Domination and Democracy (MUP – July 2020), which explores the nature and workings of social and political power, through four dimensions,  throwing into relief different aspects of power related phenomena. The analysis constitutes a new framework that builds upon contemporary theoretical perspectives of power, including the work of Hannah Arendt, Steven Lukes, Michel Foucault, Amy Allen, Clarissa Hayward, Anthony Giddens, Pierre Bourdieu, Stewart Clegg, James Scott, Gene Sharp, John Searle and Ludwig Wittgenstein. The first dimension of power concerns agency between actors, including analysis of coercion, violence and authority. The second dimension involves structural bias, conflict and resistance, including both revolutionary and non-violent resistance. The third dimension concerns tacit knowledge, uses of truth, and reification. This book moves beyond critique of ideology, developing Foucauldian/Nietzschean theories of power/knowledge without nihilistic relativism by distinguishing different types of truth claim. The fourth dimension concerns the power to create social subjects, drawing both genealogical theory, Norbert Elias on restraint and Orlando Patterson on social death in slavery.

As both a sociologist and political theorist, I distinguish sociological from normative claims. While the four dimensions stem from sociological theory, I will also explore a normative pragmatist power-based political theory of democracy and rights. This has significant implications for critiques of contemporary populism and neo-liberalism.

Mark Haugaard is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. He is the founder editor of the Journal of Political Power, published by Routledge, and a book series, Social and Political Power, with Manchester University Press. He has published extensively upon power, and his most recent publications includes ‘What is authority?’ Journal of Classical Sociology, 2018(2): 104-132 and (forthcoming) The Four Dimensions of Power, 2020, Manchester University Press