Power and Interests

From Domination to the Power of Knowing You Are Not Powerless
Part of the Contemporary Systems Thinking book series (CST)


The concept of power is central to social inquiry, yet it is highly varied and enigmatic. There is a wide-ranging and competing variety of subjectivist, objectivist, and relational conceptions of power. The first part of the chapter examines this problem in an exegetical but critical manner. The aim is to develop a critical conception of this social phenomenon. The second part of the chapter seeks to probe the nature of three types of systems approach in terms of their underwriting assumptions about power in society. The intent is twofold: (1) to uncover the ideologically suppressed truths about the noxious forms of power, and (2) to develop a penetrative understanding of how the mystified “truths” in ideological conceptions of power contain hidden meanings that have the critical potential for the empowerment of human agents and social systems.


Rational Agency Relational View Soft System Methodology Functionalist View Radical View 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

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