Stephen Hobden
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The operation of power
Why are things ‘this way’, and not ‘that way’?
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The operation of power has been a central concern within International Relations, and this is also true within critical thinking. The various critical approaches have contributed differing analyses of the operation of power. Amongst critical thinkers Foucault’s work on power is the most influential, and this chapter will focus on the way that his work on power developed over the course of his lifetime and how this has been taken on by writers in International Relations. One of the major concepts developed by Foucault was ‘governmentality’. This term has been used in International relation very widely, though some authors are not convinced by its utility. The chapter will also discuss how power has been conceived within Frankfurt School influenced Critical Theory, and Posthumanism drawing on the notion of fitness landscape.

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Critical theory and international relations

Knowledge, power and practice


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