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At the theoretical level, the concept of power is one of the most controversial and problematic in the history of philosophical, political, sociological and legal thought. The starting point of Byung-Chul Han’s reflection is that it has almost always been reduced to a direct causal relationship: who holds the power imposes himself on those who suffer it, determining their behavior regardless of their will.
However, according to Han, if you only emphasize this logic, you can perceive the violent and constrictive side, but do not capture the most hidden and complex dynamics by which power acts. By widening the analysis, one can identify precisely in freedom its presupposition and understand that it can be exercised not only against the other, but also conditioning it from within, reaching a much higher degree of mediation and assuming extremely articulate forms. mechanisms that, in the subsequent developments of his thought, the author comes to consider as the keystone of social and political life.Through a critical comparison of the main Western theorists of power, from Luhmann to Foucault, from Nietzsche to Heidegger, Hegel, Agamben and many others, i.e. in this essay Han gives a reading that aims to clear the field of contradictions and theoretical shortsightedness, by depriving the power at least of the power based on the fact that you do not know exactly what it is.
Byung Chul Han – Che cos’è il potere?
176 pages, 14 x 20 cm