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Chapter 2

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Carleton University
SOCI 2702
Charles Gibney

Power and Everyday PracticesChapter 2Thinking about Power Exploring Theories of Domination and GovernanceIt is the theorists who help make the social world more visible from the everyday activities that people engage in to analyses of historic eventsThere is not one single definition of or approach to powerTwo examples for thinking about how power works in contemporary Western industrialized societies The organization and significance of medical scienceFinancial marketsSome theorists and researchers align their scholarship with modernism while others are more readily located within postmodernism or poststructuralismModernism and Postmodernismth Modernist thought had its beginnings in the Enlightenment period in the late 17centuryEnlightenment thought posed the radical new idea that people could use human reason to shape historyScientific knowledge production began to challenge religious truthsThrough modernist scientific exploration it was and is believed that we can measure and understand not only the natural environment but also human behaviourScientific method is used to try to identify underlying structures or foundations that shape the organization of social lifeEnlightenment knowledge remained constrained by the time and location of its productionthPostmodernism began to emerge toward the end of the 20 centuryPostmodernists contest what they refer to as grand narratives grand or sweeping claims or stories about historyPostmodernists refuse to replace existing grand narratives with new onesPart of the rationale for contesting grand narratives was to account what Foucault referred to as subjugated knowledges which are hidden disqualified or masked by dominant knowledgesSubjugated knowledges are found among those who were socially positioned as other including the racialized the colonized and the sexually marginalizedPostmodernism rejects the Enlightenment belief that through human reason and research humanity is on the road of progress Instead history has been has been reconceptualized as fragmented discontinuous and without a larger purpose Humanism posits essential inviolable truths about people most notably that individual consciousness and will shape human understanding and actionPostmodernism however challenges the belief that there are core truths or laws that could be applied to all people or specific groups of people
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