Clarissa Rile Hayward. De-Facing Power. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 232 pages.
In De-Facing Power, Clarissa Rile Hayward opposes the traditional understanding of power as a potency that one person or group, who is free from obstruction, exercises over another person or group, impeding or prohibiting their free action. Instead, Hayward proposes a new definition of power that takes as its underlying assumption the fundamental democratic norm that individuals ought to be not merely free to act within their society's established norms, but ought to have the greater freedom to be the architects of the social boundaries that delimit and configure their fields of action.
Hayward insists that power relations in actual social contexts comprise not simply bilateral relations of coercion and suppression, but shared boundaries that delimit the social possibilities for action for all social participants. She further asserts that traditional ways of defining power are not only inadequate for capturing the nature of the actual worldly terrain of power relations, but that the assumptions that configure the discourse upon the latter tend to mask the deeper, more insidious violences that occur in real social groups, rather than to clarify them.
Hayward organizes her argument in favor of a reconceptualization of power by considering two very differently oriented social groups, a class of students identified by the pseudonym "North End Community School" and another renamed as "Fair View Elementary." The two classes depict diametrically opposed views of the dispensation of power,...
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