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Power in ModernityAgency Relations and the Creative Destruction of the King's Two Bodies$
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Isaac Ariail Reed

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226689319

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226689593.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Dimensions of Delegation and Domination

Dimensions of Delegation and Domination

(p.51) 3 Dimensions of Delegation and Domination
Power in Modernity

Isaac Ariail Reed

University of Chicago Press

This chapter argues that power has four dimensions—material, relational, discursive, and performative—and addresses the first three. The goal is to unpack how hierarchical ties between rector and actor are formed and how the "negative tie" between the rector-actor dyad and other is forged. The work of Alfred Gell is reconstructed as an ideal way to theorize materiality in the making and unmaking of social relations. Gell's work is contrasted with Actor Network Theory. For understanding relational power, it examines closely the work of John Levi Martin, and, for discursive power, considers Michel Foucault and Jeffrey C. Alexander. For a synthesis of material, relational and discursive power, it considers a key text by Chandra Mukerji. Throughout, the goal of the chapter is to develop these dimensions in relationship to the fundamental problematic of delegation and domination. In this way, sociological theories of power are used to articulate how actors become agents of rectors and how others are excluded. This focus is contrasted to theories of power in society that emphasize differentiation of spheres or zones of activity, such as field theory. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the "mechanization of the world," and an excursus on power and violence.

Keywords:   materiality, power, political sociology, field theory, posthumanism, actor network theory, principal and agent, cultural turn, violence, Hannah Arendt

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