The conceptualization of power in the contemporary scientific discourse of domination

The conceptualization of power in the contemporary scientific discourse of domination

Nedyak I.L.,

Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia,

elibrary_id: 212155 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2022.01.11

For citation:

Nedyak I.L. The conceptualization of power in the contemporary scientific discourse of domination. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No. 1. P. 136-149. (In Russ.).


This article examines the tensions between political power and domination in contemporary democratic societies. In doing so, it explores the ways to study power relations in the framework of modern conceptions of domination. Their analytically promising development was stimulated by the widespread and large-scale intensification of social relations of domination. Domination is defined as a form of structural and dispositional power that deprives the representative institutions of their democratic content and enhances non-political power interaction. The modern theory of domination claims emancipation and empowerment to be the highest political values and raison d’etre of democracy. Power and politics are evaluated on a scale which has for poles “non-political power/domination” and “political power /empowerment”. The paper presents the most influential modern concepts of domination and reviews the major divisions in discussions of power and democratic politics in the scientific discourse of domination. The working hypothesis of the theory of domination was verified using the data of all-Russian representative surveys (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021) conducted by the Comparative Political Research Department of the Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The article explores data analysis that was done in line with the approach of the Neo-republican conception of domination as arbitrary power, which is widely recognized as the most influential in the contemporary discourse of domination. The finding that there is a deep penetration of relations of domination in Russian society is reached by estimating their impact in several dimensions: processes of alienation and social disintegration, interiorization of political culture of servitude, promotion of strategies of “exit”. 

power, domination, politics of emancipation, empowerment, conceptions of domination.


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Content No. 1, 2022

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Ratz M.V., Kotelnikov S.I.,
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