Booucault's Theory Of Power

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Power is one of the most fundamental and yet problematic sociological concepts with several distinctive conceptualizations by different theorists, ranging from traditional to contemporary perspectives
The cornerstone of Marxist notion of power is that power lies within the hands of the ruling class, the bourgeois who own the means of production and power is being used to control and exploit the working class, the proletariats. In contrast to Marxist idea, Bourdieu posited that the ownership over the means of production alone does not determine how power is positioned and reproduced in the society. Bourdieu further asserted that besides economic forces, cultural and symbolic systems are also important factors, which are necessary in maintaining
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In opposition to Bourdieu’s emphasis on symbolic violence, Foucault focused on discipline through which social institutions such as the prisons, schools and military, enforces their power as a form of social control in the society. (Foucault, 1975) According to Foucault (1991), “power is everywhere and it is diffused and embodied in discourse, knowledge and ‘regimes of truth’”. He linked power very closely to knowledge where he said that power is being controlled, defined and reinforced by the development of “scientific knowledge”. (Geciene, 2002) Even though the system of surveillance in prisons is different from the other social institutions, they all use the same approaches of power and knowledge to discipline the citizens in the society as well as the delinquents in the…show more content…
While Foucault posited that power is enacted through the internalization of discipline by the individuals, Gramsci postulated that power is constituted through the process of cultural hegemony. In Gramsci’s theory of cultural hegemony, cultural hegemony is used by the ruling class to maintain social control in the capitalist society. In other words, cultural hegemony can be known as ideological domination. Gramsci saw cultural hegemony as “brainwashing” the individuals by enforcing dominant ideology into them. For instance, in the contemporary society, dominant ideas and beliefs are being shaped by the state and reproduced through the ideological state apparatuses (ISAs) such as the family, school, religious institutions and media. Through this process, the dominant ideology is being seen as “true” and “legitimated” and is accepted by the individuals. As a result, the power of the state is being legitimized as well. As the dominant ideology is impressed upon the individuals in the society since young through the ISAs, it is seen as “common sense” to the individuals and it is hard for them to conceptualize another vision of the real world. Thus, cultural hegemony and power by the state is maintained and

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