Domination of Domination Idea: “The Will to Power” in Contemporary Social Theory. Part I.

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Prof., National Research University Higher School of Economics; Chief Researcher, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS
Address: Moscow, Russia
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 4

The core idea of this article is that in contemporary sociological and, more generally, social theories the concept of power, and especially in such its variety as domination, plays a key role. Moreover, there is a kind of seizure of the conceptual space in theoretical sociology by power and domination concepts. These latter concepts today claim to be the main explanatory principle of all social life. The author qualifies this theoretical position as a kind of "power determinism" and "power reductionism". This trend can be traced in general theory, as well as in different particular fields of sociology. Conceptual expansion of power and domination may also be seen in the fact that concepts close to them ("force", "violence", "oppression", "coercion", "hegemony", etc.), as well as their antonyms (such as "subordination", "obedience", "subordination", "dependence", "resistance", "disagreement", etc.) are becoming increasingly important. These categories occupy an important place in a number of the most popular social theories of our time (P. Bourdieu, E. Laclau, S. Mouffe, J. Agamben, J. Butler and many others). But it was Foucault who played the main role in substantiating omnipotent and ubiquitous presence of power in social life. He tried to implement Nietzsche's call to turn sociology into a doctrine of power. The author analyzes the nature and intellectual origins of these ideas.

KeywordsPower, domination, social theory, conceptual expansion, M.Weber, F. Nietzsche, M.Foucault
Publication date12.07.2023
Number of characters34731
100 rub.
When subscribing to an article or issue, the user can download PDF, evaluate the publication or contact the author. Need to register.

Number of purchasers: 0, views: 213

Readers community rating: votes 0

1. Agamben G. (2011a) Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Moscow: Evropa (In Russ.)

2. Agamben G. (2011b) Homo Sacer: State of Exception. Moscow: Evropa. (In Russ.)

3. Anderson P. (2018) The H-Word. The Peripeteia of Hegemony. Moscow: In-t Gaidara. (In Russ.)

4. Bourdieu P. (2005) Masculine Domination. In: Bourdieu P. Social Space : Fields and Practices. Moscow: IES; St. Petersburg: Aletheia: 286–364. (In Russ.)

5. Bourdieu P. (2007) On Symbolic Power. In: Sociology of Social Space. Moscow: IES; St. Petersburg: Aletheia: 87–96. (In Russ.)

6. Butler J. (2002) The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection. Kharkov: KhCGI; St. Petersburg: Aletheia. (In Russ.)

7. Colas D. (2001) Political Sociology. Moscow: Ves Mir; Infra-M. (In Russ.)

8. Dahrendorf R. (2002) Rails from Utopia. Essays on the Theory and History of Sociology. Moscow: Praxis. (In Russ.)

9. Foucault M. (1996) The Will to Knowledge. In: Foucault M. The Will to Truth. Beyond the Knowledge, Power and Sexuality. Works of Different Years. Мoscow: Magisterium; Kastal.: 97–268. (In Russ.)

10. Foucault M. (2002) Politics is the continuation of war by other means. In: Foucault M. Intellectuals and Power. P. 1. Articles and Interviews 1970–1984. Moscow: Praxis: 148–151. (In Russ.)

11. Foucault M. (2006) The Intellectual and the Powers. In: Foucault M. Intellectuals and Power. P. 3. Articles and Interviews 1970–1984. Moscow: Praxis: 205–212. (In Russ.)

12. Foucault M. (2007) Psychiatric Power. A Course of Lectures Delivered at the Collège de France in the 1973/74 Academic Year. St. Petersburg: Nauka. (In Russ.)

13. Foucault M. (2011) Security, territory, population: a course of lectures delivered at the Collège de France in the 1977/78 academic year. St. Petersburg: Nauka. (In Russ.)

14. Foucault M. (2019) Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (2019) Мoscow: Ad Marginem. (In Russ.)

15. Giddens A., Sutton P. (2018) Essential Concepts in Sociology. Moscow: HSE Publishing House. (In Russ.)

16. Laclau E. and Mouffe C. (2004) Towards a Radical Democratic Politics: Preface to the Second Edition of “Hegemony and Socialist Strategy”. URL: (accessed 25.02.2023). (In Russ.)

17. Lediaev V. (2007) Domination. In: The Great Russian Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. Moscow: BRE: 508–509. (In Russ.)

18. Lediaev V. G. (2001) Power: Conceptual Analysis. Moscow: ROSSPEN. (In Russ.)

19. Lenin V.I. (1969) On dual power. In: Lenin V.I. Complete works. Vol.31. Moscow: Izdat. polit. lit-ry:145–148. (In Russ.)

20. Lukes S. (2010) Power: A Radical View. Moscow: VSHE. (In Russ.)

21. Murray D. (2021) The Madness of Crowds. Moscow: RIPOL Classic. (In Russ.)

22. Newman S. (2021) Postanarchism. Moscow: RIPOL Classic. (In Russ.)

23. Nietzsche F. (1990) Beyond Good and Evil. Prelude to the Philosophy of the Future. In: Nietzsche F. Essays in two volumes. Vol. 2. Moscow: Mysl. (In Russ.)

24. Nietzsche F. (2016) The will to Power. The Experience of Revaluation of All Values. Drafts and Sketches from the Legacy of Friedrich Nietzsche 1883-1888, edited by E. Förster-Nietzsche and P. Gast. Moscow: Kulturnaya revoliutsia. (In Russ.)

25. Patrushev S.V. et al. (2021) Transformation of Political, Social and Civil in the Conditions of Domination: the Russian Case. In: Reforming Russia. Yearbook. Iss. 19. Moscow: Novy Khronogfaf: 133–174. (In Russ.)

26. Preparata G.G. (2007) The Ideology of Tyranny. Bataille, Foucault, and the Postmodern Сorruption of Political Dissent. New York: Palgrave Macmillan

27. Rudnev Yu.V. (2015) Two Bodies of Foucault (An outline of the Current State of Foucault Studies). Politiya. Analiz. Khronika. Prognoz [Politeia. Analysis. Chronicle. Forecast]. No. 4 (79): 48–68. (In Russ.)

28. Scott J. (2006) Power. Cambridge: Polity Press.

29. Scruton R. (2021) Fools, Frauds and Firebrands. Thinkers of the New Left. Moscow: VSHE. (In Russ.)

30. Senellart M. (2011) The Course Context. In: Foucault M. Security, Territory, Population: a course of lectures delivered at the Collège de France in the 1977/78 academic year. St. Petersburg: Nauka: 475–511. (In Russ.)

31. Shapiro I. (2019) Politics Against Domination. Moscow: Praxis. (In Russ.)

32. Veyne P. (2013) Foucault: His Thought, His Character. St. Petersburg: Vladimir Dal. (In Russ.)

33. Weber M. (2016) Economy and Society. An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Vol.1. Moscow: VSHE. (In Russ.)

Система Orphus