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The End of Power: An argument concerning the conceptual obsolescence of power in contemporary political science and an introduction to dimensionless power

Torres, Ricardo O (2021) The End of Power: An argument concerning the conceptual obsolescence of power in contemporary political science and an introduction to dimensionless power. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This work will attempt to explain what shall be termed a ‘mis-understanding’ of power: a ‘de-conceptualisation’ that is both ‘non-dimensional’ and ‘anarchic’. The main arguments are as follows: 1) power is a superfluous ‘concept’ that is used to explain phenomena that are best served by other concepts or just left alone; 2) power is an anarchic concept that takes on the characteristics of whatever debate it is situated in and, as such, is only speciously useful; 3) power is, as a topic of science, too protean to have any explanatory power; 4) power has become too complex an idea to be scientifically, politically or sociologically utile, but its disparate elements, i.e. those used to define and explain it, are too scientifically, politically and sociologically necessary to discard; 5) terms like ‘oppression’, ‘exploitation’, ‘control’ and the like are not examples of power, nor of powerlessness, but, rather, scientific, social or political modes (of life); and, finally, 6) power is nowhere to be found, in the metaphysical or ontological sense, but it is too essential an ‘idea’ to abandon altogether. Power, in other words, as a ‘lived’ and ‘phenomenological’ human reality, exists as a sort of ‘natural’ fact. In the end, ‘power’ becomes a place-holder that needs to be abandoned in order to allow any of its enquiries to progress, but the different disciplines that examine ‘power’ have become so indebted to different terminologies and conceptualisations of power that they are unable to renounce it. Due to the nature of said ‘deconceptualisation’, it is not something that can be ‘proven’, but only ‘arrived at’ via an analysis, and de-construction, of different theories of power. Furthermore, the process, of ‘conceptualisation’ itself, needs to be dealt with, in order to understand the perniciousness of ‘the need for theory/concept’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Power; Michel Foucault; Gilles Deleuze; Felix Guattari; Non-dimensional; Phenomenology; Epistemology; Theory of Knowledge; Political Philosophy; Philosophy of Science; Biopolitics; Psychopolitics; Ontology; Subjectivity; Technologies of the Self; Byung-Chul Han; Thomas Lemke; Hannah Arendt
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Ricardo Torres
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2021 08:34
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2021 08:34
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/31301

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