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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Sociology

Postgraduate Course: Power: Conceptualising, theorising and investigating (SCIL11020)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryPower is a central concept for social and political analysis. This course introduces you to major issues in the theorisation of power in the social sciences. It does this first through an examination of definitions, key concepts, and debates, and then through closer attention to selected theorists chosen to highlight different perspectives on the study of power. This year we focus on: Steven Lukes, Michel Foucault, Dorothy Smith, Pierre Bourdieu, G. William Domhoff, and Michael Mann. Students are encouraged to think in particular about three themes: (1) how to relate concepts and theories to practical research contexts, (2) connections between studying power at micro and macro scales, and (3) the difficulties of understanding how power works in liberal forms of society.
Course description For Spring 2015 he series of lecture topics looks like this:

1. Definitions of Power
2. Domination, Authority and Legitimacy
3. From Micro to Macro
4. Steven Lukes: Three faces of power
5. Michel Foucault: power, knowledge, the subject, governmentality
6. Dorothy Smith: standpoint and gendered power
7. Pierre Bourdieu: practice, habitus, field, symbol
8. G. William Domhoff: the study of elites
9. Michael Mann: networks, insitutions, history
10. Conclusion: power and liberal society
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Be able to summarise contending definitions and outline major theories of power.
  2. Be able to identify and critically assess major themes and debates in the theorisation of power.
  3. Interpret conceptions of power in terms of the socio-historical contexts in which they are generated.
  4. Know how to analyse the ways substantive fields of research inform conceptions of power.
  5. Be able to critically assess how specific conceptions of power may shape empirical research.
Reading List
The following single author texts overview the subject from various angles, and some of these are also drawn on in the lecture readings. The best guide to the course is the convenors own book: Hearn, Jonathan (2012) Theorizing Power, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Stuart R. Clegg (1989) Frameworks of Power, London: Sage.
Keith Dowding (1996) Power, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. [
John Kenneth Galbraith (1983) The Anatomy of Power, Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Mark Haugaard (1997) The Constitution of Power: a theoretical analysis of power, knowledge and structure, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Barry Hindness (1996) Discourses of Power, Oxford: Blackwell.
Bertrand De Jouvenal (1962) On Power: Its Nature and the History of its Growth, Boston: Beacon.
Steven Lukes (2005), Power: a radical view, Palgrave.
Peter Morris (2002), Power: a philosophical analysis, Manchester U. P.
Gianfranco Poggi (2001), Forms of Power, Polity. [
David Priestland (2013) Merchant, Soldier, Sage: A New History of Power, London: Penguin.
Bertrand Russell (2004), Power: a new social analysis, Routledge,
John Scott (2001), Power, Polity.
Dennis H. Wrong (2002), Power: Its Forms, Bases, and Uses, 3rd Edition, Transaction.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Jonathan Hearn
Tel: (0131 6)50 4242
Course secretaryMiss Jade Birkin
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659
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