Power and Knowledge

  • Lynelle WattsEmail author
  • David Hodgson


Conceptions of power are important to consider how best to address discrimination and oppression within social work practice. Early social theory accounts tended to consider power as a property that some institutions, individuals and groups accrued by virtue of unequal social arrangements of various kinds. Later poststructural accounts considered power as constituting norms, forms of knowledge and various social practices. This chapter outlines both theoretical positions to present contemporary understandings of power where they may be seen as important element in critical social work practice towards social justice. Specifically, the chapter explains structural and behavioural accounts of power, as well as pastoral power, biopower and the emergence of neuro-bio-psychological knowledge and what this means for social justice, now and into the future.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Arts and HumanitiesEdith Cowan UniversityBunburyAustralia

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