(Re)Conceptualising the third face of power: insights from Bourdieu and Foucault

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The strength of Lukes’ third face of power is the recognition that agents can be influenced by structures and ideas in ways of which they are unaware. The weakness of Lukes’ position is that his consideration of the third face is under-developed. In this article, we argue that Bourdieu and Foucault’s work offer fruitful ways of exploring this ‘pre-conscious’ dimension. Using Bourdieu’s work, the core of any understanding of the third face is rooted in the relationship between the social field and the habitus, while, for Foucault, the focus is upon the construction of the subject and her preferences in relation to the ongoing production of power. We subsequently explore the differences between their positions.




Akram, S., Emerson, G., & Marsh, D. (2015). (Re)Conceptualising the third face of power: insights from Bourdieu and Foucault. Journal of Political Power, 8(3), 345–362. https://doi.org/10.1080/2158379X.2015.1095845

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