The Double Paradigm of Power

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


As everybody knows, power is a ugly thing, escaping an immediate catch that is aimed to represent it in a univocal way. In the western culture, its conformation is investigated by the classic metaphysical question – what is power? – so inexorably linking it to its essence, that yet defines the perimeter of truth in connection with its existence: in fact that question is possible only for what it is, not for what it is not (i.e. nihilism); things as they are given, they are so in their essence, that is unalterable in time and not deniable as truth effect. If things are by essence, they are true. So and not otherwise, that’s all!The primacy of essence as a real signification of things in their existence is reinforced by the linguistic sign that is traced inside this form-of-civilisation, by means of one more question – who has power? – that in this case defines either the proprietary subjectivation, or the substantive objectivity of power itself. In fact, by last question, power happens at linguistic level as a thing of possession, as a property pertinent to a possessor, as a substance to be owned in its exterior, that is, from an outside to power, as if it was a stake to seize and use according to interest, taste, passion, desire, will, etc.In this way we trace the double axe of signification for a classic theory of power, that is articulated, on the one hand, to the dimension of sovereignty as the (legitimate) subject of power, about which we need to analyse their forms and forces, fields and tensions in their each specificity; on the other hand, to the inherent verticalness of hierarchical order, where and by which we mime the subjective gesture to catch an object.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Perspectives on Anarchism
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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