Karl Marx, Max Weber And Michel Foucault

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This paper will compare and critically evaluate the conceptions of power and domination found in the works of Karl Marx, Max Weber and Michel Foucault. The paper will propose how power maybe used to cultivate practices of emancipatory change illustrating with examples of the operation of power and change.

For centuries scholars, social scientists, philosophers and political theorists have tried to understand the nature and mechanisms of power that structure how social life functions. Karl Marx although he never specifically developed a theory of power, his work constantly addresses it. Max Weber’s definition of power in society remains the starting point for many sociologists (Cole, 2017). Michel Foucault on the other hand theorises the question of power and his theorisation is possibly not only the most known but widely used in the present day (“The “How” and “Why” of Power: From Marx to Foucault to Power today”, 2017).

Karl Marx, Max Weber and Michel Foucault examine the concepts of power and domination in different perspectives. Marx believed under capitalism the ruling class held the power to use it to exploit the working class. Weber believes power comes from the existence of bureaucratic instruments and bureaucracy itself. Where Foucault believes that power relations just exist in society with discursive elements that we subconsciously internalise.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a materialist philosopher, believing all ideas came out of life, rather than the divine

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