By Dick Pels

Estate and gear practice a key function in social and political theories of sophistication inequality and social stratification, besides the fact that, theorists have not begun sincerely to outline those strategies, their mutual limitations and scopes of program. This e-book solutions the property/power puzzle by means of venture a extensive old inquiry into its highbrow origins and present-day results via a sequence of case reviews, including:

Marxism vs. anarchism

* the fascist statement of the primacy of the political

* social technology as energy theory

* the managerial revolution

* the data society and the hot highbrow sessions

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Extra info for Property and Power in Social Theory: A Study in Intellectual Rivalry

Sample text

Could accede to the total domination of individual owners. Indeed, the theoretical crux of the abolitionists’ rejection of the ownership of persons was the Lockean conviction that every man was inalienably the owner of his own person. ‘Every man’, the Anti-Slavery Convention of 1833 stated, ‘has a right to his own body…and to the produce of his own labour’. This ownership of one’s life and labour constituted the only form of ownership of persons which the canons of classical liberalism considered legitimate.

In its bourgeois conceptualization, property was increasingly thought of as one and indivisible, as an essence which transcended its several parts, or a substance which remained complete and equivalent to itself even when a number of subordinate rights were seceded from it. Its corollary of plena in res potestas meant that the thing was either mine or yours unqualifiedly and admitted of no difference in degree. Property, as the utopian socialist Charles Hall critically put it, had come to be a ‘plus or minus affair’.

Power is often circularly defined as ‘that which is not property’, as something less than the fullness of command which is commonly associated with rights of ownership. Many modern theorists of power contrast an acceptable view of power-as-relation with a non-acceptable one of power-as-property (Lasswell and Kaplan 1950: 75; Easton 1953:143; Foucault 1980:88–9, 198; Clegg 1989:207). The metaphorics of power, on the other hand, often serve to indicate that private property relations have been progressively hedged in by social and political prescriptions or have disappeared altogether.

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