The Signature of Power: towards an analytics of power for the social sciences

Foredrag af Mitchell Dean, Professor of Public Governance at Copenhagen Business School and Professor of Sociology, University of Newcastle, Australia, 17 september 2014.
The Signature of Power expands the analysis of power beyond its current widespread limitation, within sociology and the social sciences, to diverse and localized social relations, found in governance, networks or civil society, and its exclusion or diminution of law, sovereignty, state, and their rituals and symbols. Contrary to this, the idea of a ‘signature of power’ stresses a reversibility between two changing poles: power to and power over, power as capacity and power as right, juridical-sovereignty and economic management, reign and government. It explores this signature through three perspectives: that of Michel Foucault’s genealogy of power and government, Carl Schmitt’s political theology, and Giorgio Agamben’s theological genealogy of economy and government. It argues that each of them tries and fails to escape the signature of power, but in the process that we learn about the renewal of both the study of power and the social sciences. This renewal includes a focus, inter alia, on public-ness and publicity, legitimacy, ceremony, acclamation and symbols, and the theological elements of the most rationalized of political and economic forms.