Political Authority at the Core of the Political

  • Henrik Paul Bang
Part of the International Political Theory book series (IPoT)


The political division of labor between political authorities and laypeople is not one that is defined by ‘conferring the power to distinguish onto a superpower of dissensus or of rupture’ (Rancière 2010: 215). It is not about ‘substituting a topology of possibles and their displacements and re-compositions for the efficacy protocols of the superpower’ (ibid.: 217). But nor does it reduce politics to an accidental activity that requires no justification and converts knowledge into solely ‘an activity of de-classification that undermines all policing’ (ibid.: 218). The relationship between the ordinary citizen and the parrhesiast would be one of continuing problematization and coding in the name of their difference for solving common concerns. It could never freeze into a specific form, because both parties would recognize how politics and democracy are in an unceasing process of becoming. This is why Foucault carefully avoids identifying the political with the state in general or with a series of political institutions (EW3: 345):

The exercise of power is not a naked fact, an institutional given, nor is it a structure that holds out or is smashed: it is something that is elaborated, transformed, organized; it endows itself with processes that are more or less adjusted to the situation.


Civil Society Political Community Political Authority Discursive Practice Output Side 
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Copyright information

© Henrik Paul Bang 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henrik Paul Bang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Governance and Policy AnalysisUniversity of CanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of CopenhagenDenmark

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