The four dimensions of power – Q&A with Mark Haugaard

Posted by - Wednesday, 8 Jul 2020


How would you like someone who has read your book to sum it up in one sentence?

The four dimensions of power is a nuanced and clearly presented account of social and political power, which inspired me to look at the social world in a new way.

What books in your field have inspired you the most?

Steven Lukes (1974) Power: A radical view. Palgrave Macmillan. I read this as an undergraduate, and got me thinking about the subject of power.

Did your research take you to any unexpected places?

Current events in politics, in particular the crisis of democracy, had an implicit effect, which I had not predicted. It made me wonder what makes for a stable democratic system, where everyone gains.

Which writing process do you use (computer, longhand, dictate, other)?

Mac – I am part of the cult.

Why did you choose to publish with MUP?

The book series Social and Political Power is appropriate.

What are you working on now?

Articles, and a book, provisionally entitled Democracy and Power: Pragmatist versus idealist and populist visions.

If you could go back and give yourself once piece of advice when starting out on this project, what would it be?

Take your time.

If you could have been the author of any book, what would it be and why?

Steven Lukes (1974) Power: A radical view. This book is exceptionally clear, and I hope that my current book with MUP is a contribution in a similar vein.

What other genres do you enjoy reading?

My personal obsession is sailing, so any books about boats, especially classic boats, and sailing adventures are my favourite. I let this work itself into the introduction of The four dimensions of power, where I connect Wittgenstein with the Vikings and great sailing ships of the past.

Which authors (academic and not) would you invite to a dinner party?

Steven Lukes, Anthony Giddens, John Rawls, Robert Dahl, Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Foucault, Zygmunt Bauman, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Ludwig Wittgenstein and, of course, the intrepid sailor Bernard Moitessier. Most are dead, but as it’s an imaginary gathering, that’s okay.



The four dimensions of power: Understanding domination, empowerment and democracy by Mark Haugaard is available to buy now.

Mark Haugaard is Professor in the School of Political Science and Sociology at the National University of Ireland, Galway


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