Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

James Kreines

Reader 2

Jordan Daniels

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Nicola W Augustyn


Michel Foucault is a philosopher of power who left behind a legacy of ideas that continue to inspire scholars today. His conceptualization of power is not limited to the figures of kings, monarchs, or the sovereign state. Rather, he regards power as a productive force that shapes subjectivity, manufactures knowledge, and engenders the truth in a particular historical context. In this thesis, I aim to provide a comprehensive account of Foucault’s analysis of power, starting with his refutation of the “repressive hypothesis” that challenges the predominant view of centralized top-down power. Then, I present Foucault’s proposal for redefining power as a system of analytics, implying power courses through society via various social relations. This unfortunately renders liberation from power obsolete but opens new ways of resisting power. Following the reconceptualization of power, I differentiate systems of power, specifically sovereign power’s inadequacies with producing subjects, disciplinary power with its domain of the body, and biopower with its concern for the population. Finally, I investigate power in contemporary phenomena of today’s data-driven, digitalized, and neoliberal Western societies, taking stock of the limitations of Foucault’s power analysis while exploring how it might be extended. Written in an aphoristic style, the last chapter encourages ethical inquiry into how power exerts control and governance today.