The Idea of Power and the Role of Ideas

  title={The Idea of Power and the Role of Ideas},
  author={Daniel B{\'e}land},
  journal={Political Studies Review},
  pages={145 - 154}
  • D. Béland
  • Published 2010
  • Sociology
  • Political Studies Review
Since the mid-1970s, the social science debate over the meaning of the idea of power has intensified. Offering a critical discussion of the work of Steven Lukes, this brief article puts forward an amended definition of political power before exploring the relationship between ideas, interests and power relations. Drawing on the recent social science literature on the role of ideas in politics, the article suggests that, among other things, ideational processes help actors make sense of their… Expand
Power through, over and in ideas: conceptualizing ideational power in discursive institutionalism
ABSTRACT Owing to the tendency of discursive institutionalists to conflate the notion that ‘ideas matter' for policy-making with the ‘power of ideas’, little has been done to explicitly theorizeExpand
Theorizing Ideas and Discourse in Political Science: Intersubjectivity, Neo-Institutionalisms, and the Power of Ideas
ABSTRACT Oscar Larsson’s (2015) essay condemns discursive institutionalism for the “sin” of subjectivism. In reality, however, discursive institutionalism emphasizes the intersubjective nature ofExpand
The Nature of Ideas, and Why Political Scientists Should Care: Analysing the Danish Jobcentre Reform from an Ideational Perspective
Research on the role of ideas has contributed greatly to our understanding of processes of policy change. The article suggests that theories that deal with interest-driven reform processes might alsoExpand
Ideas and Institutions in Social Policy Research
This special issue commemorates the 50th anniversary of Social Policy & Administration. Much has been written over the last two decades about the role of ideas in social policy, especially as theyExpand
Conceptualizing ideational power in discursive institutionalism
The emergence of discursive institutionalism as a fourth institutionalism in political science was predicated on the success ideational scholars enjoyed in arguing that 'ideas matter' (Schmidt 2008).Expand
Public Policy and Ideation
The ideational turn in new institutionalism is by far the most recent and has the potential to examine public policy decisions regardless of political, societal, and socioeconomic conditions. RecentExpand
Bringing Ideational Power into the Paradigm Approach: Critical Perspectives on Policy Paradigms in Theory and Practice
The work of Peter A. Hall (1993) on the role of policy paradigms in public policy is remarkable. Unrivalled by any other publication in ideational scholarship in terms of citations and impact, it —Expand
Identity, politics, and public policy
ABSTRACT Although much has been written about ‘identity politics’ in the narrow sense of the term, students of politics and public policy can take a more systematic look at the connection betweenExpand
Conceptualising Party Political Ideology: An Exploration of Party Modernisation in Britain
Ideology in political parties has been studied in a variety of different ways. From accounts which emphasise the decline of ideology to scholars attesting the centrality of ideas, the interactionExpand
From ideas to hegemony: ideational change and affirmative action policy in Malaysia, 1955–2010
This article proposes a new approach to hegemony, recast as a tool to capture the power of ideas at the systemic level. Hegemony is conceptualized as a condition in which a set of ideas is acceptedExpand


Divided by a Common Language: Political Theory and the Concept of Power
Power is probably the most universal and fundamental concept of political analysis. It has been, and continues to be, the subject of extended and heated debate. In this article I critically reviewExpand
Ideas, institutions, and policy change
Seeking to amend historical institutionalism, this article draws on the political science literature on ideas and the sociological literature on framing to discuss three ways in which ideationalExpand
Ideology: A Very Short Introduction
Ideology is one of the most controversial terms in the political vocabulary, exciting both revulsion and inspiration. This book examines the reasons for those views, and explains why ideologiesExpand
Ideas and politics in social science research
Writing about ideas, John Maynard Keynes noted that they are "more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else." One would expect, therefore, that politicalExpand
The social construction of reality : a treatise in the sociology of knowledge
A general and systematic account of the role of knowledge in society aimed to stimulate both critical discussion and empirical investigations. This book is concerned with the sociology of 'everythingExpand
Power: Its Forms, Bases and Uses
In one grand effort, this is an anatomy of power, a history of the ways in which it has been defined, and a study of its forms (force, manipulation, authority, and persuasion), its bases (individualExpand
When Do Ideas Matter?
The field of comparative politics has begun to take seriously the role of ideas in politics, but to date this interest has not clearly specified the conditions under which ideas influence publicExpand
`Objective' Interests and the Sociology of Power
In the first section of this paper I note a parallel between certain problems generated by Steven Lukes's `three-dimensional' view of power, and what I call the `paradox of emancipation' in certainExpand
Ideas, Institutions, and Political Order: Explaining Political Change
  • R. Lieberman
  • Political Science
  • American Political Science Review
  • 2002
Institutional approaches to explaining political phenomena suffer from three common limitations: reductionism, reliance on exogenous factors, and excessive emphasis on order and structure. IdeationalExpand
Two Faces of Power
The concept of power remains elusive despite the recent and prolific outpourings of case studies on community power. Its elusiveness is dramatically demonstrated by the regularity of disagreement asExpand