As of today, debates over political power are divided between theorists who see empowerment
as a shrewd ruse of power, leading to domination (Nietzsche, Foucault 1983) and theorists who
consider empowerment as the key to overcoming domination in more or less sophisticated
forms (Kant 1781, Lukes 1974). This opposition dictates that power in our understanding of
modern society is a domain of apparent antinomies (Gallie 1956; Dean 2012; Forst 2013a).
However, it seems that the deeper study of modern society shows that both positions have some
truth to it. The main question of this work is “What is legitimate political power?
In my Ph.D. dissertation, I have investigated the concepts of political power and rights. I
tried to transcend the notion of political power and distinguished it from mere exercise,
domination, or subject dispositions. I aimed to criticize authoritarian and totalitarian regimes –
monarchies and polyarchies -, their instruments of power: Natural Law, the miranda, and
credenda of power (Merriam 1934) and their legal order.
I elaborated on the legitimacy of power and principle of democratization to show that it is
the right of people to question political power and its instruments to the extent that such critique
helps to reach a political equilibrium –in procedural and effectual consequence- in which there
is mutual recognition of the right and the authority between those who govern and those who
are governed. More importantly, I investigated in the nature of power. This mean, how power
restricted itself or empowered itself and with which instruments. This is one of the main
theories proposed in my investigation which I called “political consciousness”. I will argue that
“a consciousness on the government's part that it has a right to govern and with some
recognition of that right by the governed” (Ibid) would be one of the essential characters of a
The result of this research is to show that the theory of ‘political consciousness is one of
the important social-political empowerment’ and cornerstone of a legitimate power. It is also
to show that political power is an ‘essentially integrated concepts of ‘power’ and ‘right’: it
comprises the concept of political ‘power’ - qua authority - and political ‘rights. In this sense,
the obligation and empowerment are two sides of political power: it gives the right of
justification to an authority –power over- and give the right of political participation to the
people- power to/of.
Furthermore, the result of this research shows that power is a Janus-Faced. The
combination of ‘power as domination’ and ‘power as right’ would be determining aspect to
assess whether to see power as the reason for domination or power as the reason for
empowerment. In any case, this work shows how a power can be legitimate or illegitimate.
x, 349 Seiten
300 Social sciences::320 Political science::321 Systems of governments and states
A Theory of Political Power and Rights
La Sala, Beate Ulrike
A Secret Exchange for Legitimacy
Eine Theorie der politischen Macht, ein geheimer Austausch für die Legitimität
Philosophie und Geisteswissenschaften