Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Power is a concept broadly used both in personal and political communication and in scientific discourse. Everybody claims to know what power is. Yet looking at the wealth of meanings given to this concept in everyday life and among social scientists, the confusion is striking. There are several reasons for this confusion. By way of introduction, only two reasons need to be mentioned. One reason for this confusion is that the use of the concept of power in common and scientific language is highly morally loaded. Power researchers committed to the Weberian epistemological norm of Werturteilsfreiheit (freedom from value judgment) are under extreme pressure both from the members of their own scientific community, who follow the contrary norm of critical analysis, and from the public to take a clear moral position on power. Critical theorists who have committed themselves to fighting power with the means of science, on the There ...