THEORY OF POWER: STATE POWER AND OTHER POWER
What do we mean by “power”? Is “power” one thing or many? What power(s) act(s) on us, here and now? How do these power(s) work, and how do they affect us: for good or for ill? Which powers that affect us are changing, and how? What power(s) do we ourselves have? What power(s) do we ourselves lack? How might we empower ourselves? Should we? These are the ongoing questions of this course.
The first answer that often leaps to mind is “power means state power.” “Power” in this sense is composed of (the activity) of police, courts, prisons, the military, surveillance and law, with “physical force” operating centrally. State power is a key concern of ours, as are the nature and essential processes of the state as such. Yet there are other types of power as well. We will investigate class power, ideology, spatial, architectural and infrastructural dimensions of power, often operating “biopolitically,” disciplinary power and political power. Today these forms of power interlace and operate together, composing the everyday functioning of what we might simply call “neoliberalism.” And there are oppositional powers too. We will consider local direct democracy, non-participation, revolt, Black power, “constituent power,” “non-state spaces” and local land control.