Skip to main content Skip to navigation

The Concept of Power and Social Research

Held: May 2012

This half day workshop is led by Professor John Holmwood, University of Nottingham, Dr Justin Cruickshank, University of Birmingham, and Dr Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Warwick.

The concept of power is ubiquitous in many social sciences (for example, sociology, politics, geography). At the same time, it is also deemed to be an essentially contested concept. According to Steven Lukes, in an influential book on the topic, power should be understood in three dimensions and it is only a three-dimensional view of power that enables a full account of empirical and normative aspects of the phenomenon. This seminar will address Lukes's claims and consider whether such a concept of power is not in fact an obstacle to empirical research and normative evaluation. Participants in the seminar are required to read Lukes's short book, Power: A Radical View, in advance.