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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kenneth G Lawson
POL S 273
Seattle Campus

The Concept of Political Power

How to understand and explain relationships of power. Readings from Marxism, Weberian sociology, anarchism, classical political philosophy, and contemporary political science. May also include works of fiction.

Class description

Description: This course seeks to explain and understand the exercise of power. We will examine some of the key intellectual traditions that grapple with the problem of power, and we will look at some case studies of political activities and hegemony in different communities. Our purpose will be to reveal the influence of political power on the relationship among the individual, the community, and the state. In doing so, we will address these questions: (1) What is power? (2) Who exercises or holds power? (3) When is power legitimate? (4) When is it possible for individuals or groups to resist power? Hopefully, by the end of the quarter, you will develop a perspective about how political power does and should affect your life on a day-to-day basis.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Texts: H. Arendt, On Revolution; A. Camus, The Plaque; Gaventa, Power and Powerless; Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance; and selections from Foucault, Gramsci, Marx, Weber and others.

Class assignments and grading

Assignments: You will be required to write (a) 4 short essays, (b) a take-home midterm, and (c) a final, in-class exam.

Grading: Exams: 30 % Papers: 60 % Class/quiz participation: 10 % TOTAL: 100 %


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 06/08/2004