Power and reason, justice and domination: a conversation

Amy Allen, Rainer Forst, Mark Haugaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Through an email conversation between Allen, Forst and Haugaard, this article explores the relationship between the dyads power and reason, justice and domination. In much of the literature reason is considered either a mode of emancipation from power (Lukes) or, conversely, a subtle ruse of domination (Foucault). Here it is argued that reasoning is intrinsic to political power, with both the potential for power as justice (Arendt), and for power as domination (Foucault and Lukes). With power and reason as normatively neutral, with both/either normatively desirable and undesirable potentials, this raises the fundamental question of how to distinguish between justice and domination. These issues are explored, taking account of processes of subject formation and systems of thought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-33
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Political Power
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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