Home > Uncategorized > Power, knowledge and academics

Power, knowledge and academics

Yes knowledge and power are interconnected. Ofcourse power is everywhere, it is diffuse and pervasive as well as concentrated. Power is domination as well as structures and logics, roles and identities, discourses and representations. Scholars have done  a great job deconstructing how power-knowledge representations perform structural subordination, against women, colonials, workers, poor, basically all sorts of others. But you can’t just stop at the deconstruction. It is irresponsible to stop at deconstruction. Latour in “Why has Critique run out of steam” recognizes this. Tilly indirectly contributes in “Globalization threatens labor rights” by defining rights and democracy as publicly enforceable claims. In order to make claims you need authorities to make claims to, and these authorities need to be strong authorities to safeguard you rights. Without authority there are no rights without power there is no order, there is no responsibility. The point isn’t just to tear the existing authority down, it is to set up an alternate one, or to modify the existing one. Similarly Chris Ansel in Pragmatic Democracy recognizes that without public agencies to coordinate and assume power, to listen to complaints and to be criticized and demanded against, there can be no public goods, or publicly coordinated benefits. That is to say deconstructing power will not will it away. Assuming power and responsibly dealing with that power is a better course of action. There will always be power, there is a need for institutions, for authorities for elites even. And failing to fill that role, in a way that is sensitive to lessons of past abuses ofcourse, will only leave a vacuum which the crazies will fill and are filling.

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