Children in Theory: Theories of Power seminar series at the University of Liverpool (2022)
Includes two videos of recorded sessions.
General information on the Children in Theory project at the University of Liverpool
Theories of Power
In this session of the “Children in Theory” series, Dr. Guilel Treiber (KU Leuven) introduces the main questions and issues arising from studies on power. He later discusses with Michael Gallagher (Manchester Metropolitan University) the value and applicability of theories of power (in particular Foucault) to studies of childhood.
In this session, Guilel Treiber introduces the concept of power as it has been analysed and conceptualised in the history of philosophy and political thought. In particular, he attempts to introduce four questions surrounding research on power: What is power? Who has power? Where is power located? How is power operated? It starts with wit the basic claim that power is a strongly contested concept, especially if studied across history. What does it mean to have power? Can power be possessed by individuals? Can it be distributed? Passing through authors like, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Nietzsche, Lukes, Gramsci and Foucault, this video attempts to provide an eagle’s eye view of the forms and manifestations of ‘power’ in theory, and how they are used to interpret reality. Some key issues addressed are:
A study of power as family of concepts with contested definitions and understandings.
Steve Lukes’ Three dimensions of power, and the importance of Ideology (Althusser) and Hegemony (Gramsci) to understand these dimensions.
The location of power, and how it resides in individuals, in collectives, and symbolically.
Michel Foucault and the constitutive aspects of power.
Based on the introduction to Theories of Power from the previous video, Michael Gallagher and Guilel Treiber discuss various aspects of power, and how it applies to particular issues of childhood. This conversation between an applied researcher and a philosopher provides great insight into the dynamic relationship between theoretical and applied work on childhood. Among the issues addressed are the following:
They explore the role of power in studies of child agency.
The tension between protection and participation during childhood from a power framework.
The value of Foucauldian analyses of power in studies of childhood.
Further References and Resources – included on webpage