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Fugitive DemocracyAnd Other Essays$
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Sheldon S. Wolin and Nicholas Xenos

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691133645

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691133645.001.0001

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On the Theory and Practice of Power

On the Theory and Practice of Power

(p.283) Chapter 14 On the Theory and Practice of Power
Fugitive Democracy

Sheldon S. Wolin

, Nicholas Xenos
Princeton University Press

This chapter analyzes Michel Foucault's conception of power. It suggests that the Foucaldian conception remains incomplete, which provides the opportunity to criticize current postmodern conceptions before they settle in as reigning orthodoxies. Foucault approached the notion of power through a running criticism of some of the distinctive categories of modern political theory. The most important of these were theory, action, and the sovereign state. Theory and action is a formula as old as Western political theory, but it became the hallmark of modern political thinking, both in Hobbes's conjunction of theory and technology and in Marx's linking of theory to revolution. Foucault viewed theory as a totalizing system of thought, an all-inclusiveness that was at once authoritarian and ignorant.

Keywords:   Michael Foucault, political theory, power, modernity, action, sovereign state

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