On Barry Hindess's discourses of power

Mitchell Dean*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Given the limitations of a short commentary, this article is restricted to an attempt to summarize the argument of a relatively small book, Discourses of Power. This book is adorned by a beautiful picture of Citizen Kane, no doubt chosen by its author, and characterized by an argument of dazzling coherence, which not only sums up and dispenses with most of the fundamental ideas about power in the canon of Western political theory but also provides a balanced appraisal of its radical alternative. Here, I attempt to resist the thesis that it is impossible to disagree with anything in this book. I ask whether, in addition to the view of power as capacity and power as right addressed in the book, Hindess should have considered the influential view of power as appropriation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-9
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Appropriation
  • Legitimacy
  • Moral autonomy
  • Political community
  • Power


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