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date: 25 May 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews Steven Lukes’ 1974 book Power: A Radical View (PRV). It begins by addressing the debate that erupted in the 1950s and 1960s between those who believed that power was concentrated in the hands of a few and those who argued that power was distributed “pluralistically.” It then considers a set of deeper philosophical/theoretical debates that supported Lukes’ own position, citing Antonio Gramsci’s claim that hegemony could be secured through ideology in which the ideas of the ruling class became the ruling ideas. It also examines Lukes’ approach to conceptual analysis and his distinction between the concept and conception of power, focusing specifically on his view that binding together power, agency, and responsibility was dependent on an understanding of responsibility. Finally, the chapter assesses the impact of PRV on debates over concepts such as authority, interests, and domination, and on issues surrounding agency, intentionality, responsibility, and structure.

Keywords: Steven Lukes, Power: A Radical View, political philosophy, power, ruling class, agency, responsibility, authority, domination, intentionality

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