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Sovereign Power, Disciplinary Power and Biopower: Resisting What Power With What Resistance?

Journal article
Authors Mona Lilja
Stellan Vinthagen
Published in Journal of Political Power
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 107-126
ISSN 2158-379X
Publication year 2014
Published at School of Global Studies, Peace and Development Research
Pages 107-126
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/2158379X.2014.88...
Keywords Power, resistance
Subject categories Other Social Sciences


This article outlines a framework of a possible understanding of Foucault and resistance, by linking Foucauldian power forms with its corresponding resistance. If resistance is a reaction to power, then the characteristics of the power strategy/relation affect the kinds of resistance that subsequently prevail. And if resistance is a response and thereby shaped by relations of power, it becomes interesting to discuss what kinds of resistance are linked to or emanate from what kinds of power. We discuss this relationship between power and resistance by drawing on three different power forms as outlined by Foucault: (I) sovereign power; (II) disciplinary power; and (III) biopower. Departing from these forms of power, we discuss how different power techniques need to serve as the corresponding reference point for possible resistance techniques, where the peculiarities of power decide how resistance can be conducted.

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