This textbook provides a coherent and comprehensive account of the different frameworks for understanding power which have been advanced within the social sciences. Though looking back to the classical literature on power with special emphasis on Machiavelli and Hobbes, the book concentrates on the modern analysis of power - from both British and American social and political theorists, and from German Critical Theory and French theorists such as Foucault - and develops upon its theory and its application. Not only does the book provide an overview of the various frameworks of power advanced by these and other influential thinkers, but it also develops a new synthesis based on important work in both the sociology of science and the sociology of organizations. This approach is then applied to key questions in the comparative historical sociology of the emergence of the modern state.

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