This major book provides an up-to-date and state-of-the-art overview of the contemporary theory and practice of the most central concept in political science: power. The concept of political power is introduced within a three-part framework: contemporary theories of power; applications of power processes and practices; and the implications of modern power flows across the globe today. The book explores the many structures of power in the contemporary world from theories of its construction and use, to its operation in policy networks, and its wider exercise at different levels in the political process, from the local to the global. Amongst the many themes explored are the reproduction and


Since the publication of Lukes's Power (1974) there has been a change of emphasis in the analysis of power. This is most obvious if we look at the authors and concepts associated with power today, as compared to then. At present references to Foucault and Nietzsche, and terms such as ‘discourse’ and ‘practices’, are inextricably tied to the concept of power. In the 1960s and 1970s references to Gramsci and Marx, and to terms such as ideology and class consciousness, abounded.1 This move is not symptomatic of a new fashion for certain authors or concepts but, rather, a manifestation of a deeper shift in social theory.

From the Second World War up to the late 1970s, the analysis of power tended to be divided between ...

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