Power and force: Rethinking Kojève, Arendt and Camus in the populist era

  • Maciej Kałuża
Keywords: Master‐Slave dialectic, violence and power, populism, domination


In the presented essay, I would like to focus on the relationship between force and power. The idea that power, without resorting to forceful, even violent solutions, is less problematic, is both deceitful and dangerous. Once accepted, it can cause an oversight of violence‐free but possibly harmful forms of power. My focus in the article will be on the two reinterpretations of Master‐Slave dialectics, as presented by Alexandre Kojève and Albert Camus. This will be presented with reference to the position of Hannah Arendt and her remarks on power and force. In conclusion, I will be abstemious: my goal is rather to diagnose and bind the existentialist judgement with the contemporary situation and suggest that thinking outside the force‐power relationship may be continuously fruitful and an important part of reflection on the nature of political power.

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