Power in communication: revisiting power studies

Open access


This paper revisits a range of theories of power in communication and argues that there has been no methodology able to grasp the multiplicity of power in communication as a concept. As a result, the present scholarship on power in communication is characterized by a multiplicity of approaches that a) use the concept of power as a self-explanatory or vague concept in the analysis of several interactional phenomena; b) draw on a particular approach to power, disregarding multiple workings of power; or c) acknowledge the complexity of power and synthesize various approaches to power.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • ABU-AKEL A. 2002. The psychological and social dynamics of topic performance in family dinnertime conversations. Journal of Pragmatics vol. 34 no. 12 pp. 1787 - 1806.

  • BACHRACH P. and BARATZ M. 1970. Power and poverty: theory and practice. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • BLANKENSHIP K. and HOLTGRAVES TH. 2005. The role of different markers of linguistic powerlessness in persuasion. Journal of Language and Social Psychology vol. 24 no. 1 pp. 3 - 24.

  • BLAU P. 1967. Exchange and power in social life. New York N.Y.: Wiley.

  • BRADAC J. BUSCH J. and GIBBONS P. 1991. Powerful and powerless language: consequences for persuasion impression formation and cognitive response. Journal of Language and Social Psychology vol. 10 no. 2 pp. 115 - 133.

  • BRENNAN C. 1997. Max Weber on power and social stratification: an interpretation and critique. Aldershot: Ashgate.

  • CALDWELL R. 2007. Agency and change: Re-evaluating Foucault’s legacy. Organization vol. 14 no. 6 pp. 769 - 791.

  • CROMWELL R. and OLSON D. 1975. Power in families. Beverly Hills Calif.: Sage Publications.

  • DAHL R. 1997. From authoritarianism to democracy via socioeconomic development. Oslo: Department of Sociology University of Oslo.

  • DAVIS K. LEIJENAAR M. and OLDERSMA J. 1991. The gender of power. London; Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

  • DEFRANCISCO V. 1998. The sounds of silence: How men silence women in marital relations. In: J. Coates ed. Language and gender: A reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. pp. 176 -184.

  • FAIRCLOUGH N. 1989. Language and power. London: Longman.

  • FISHMAN P. 1978. Interaction: The work women do. Social Problems vol. 25 pp. 397 - 406.

  • FOUCAULT M. and GORDON C. 1980. Power/knowledge: selected interviews and other writings 1972-1977. New York: Pantheon Books.

  • GIDDENS A. 1979. Central problems in social theory: action structure and contradiction in social analysis. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • GIDDENS A. 1984. The constitution of society: outline of the theory of structuration. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • GIDDENS A. 1988. Social theory and modern sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • HAUGAARD M. 2002. Power: a reader. Manchester UK: Manchester University Press.

  • HOLMES J. and STUBBE M. 2003. Power and politeness in the workplace: a sociolinguistic analysis of talk at work. London: Longman.

  • HOLTGRAVES TH. and LASKY B. 1999. Linguistic power and persuasion. Journal of Language and Social Psychology vol. 18 no. 2 pp. 196 - 205.

  • KOLLOCK P. BLUMSTEIN PH. and SCHWARTZ P. 1985. Sex and power in interaction: Conversational privileges and duties. American Sociological Review vol. 56 no. 1 pp. 34 - 46

  • LEET-PELLEGRINI H. 1980. Conversational dominance as a function of gender and expertise. In H. Giles P. Robinson and P. Smith eds. Language and social psychological perspectives. New York: Pergamon.

  • LEEUWEN T. 2005. Three models of interdisciplinarity. In: R. Wodak and P. Chilton eds. A new agenda in critical discourse analysis. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company pp.3 - 18.

  • LEEZENBERG M. 2002. Power in communication: Implications for semantics-pragmatics interface. Journal of Pragmatics vol. 34 no. 7 pp. 893 - 908.

  • LINELL P. and LUCKMANN TH. 1991. Asymmetries in dialogue: some conceptual preliminaries. In: I. Markova and K. Foppa eds. Asymmetries in dialogue. New York: Harvester Weatsheaf pp.1 - 20.

  • LOCHER M. 2004. Power and politeness in action: disagreements in oral ommunication. Berlin; New York: M. de Gruyter.

  • LUKES S. 1974. Power: a radical view. London and New York: Macmillan.

  • MADSEN L. 2003. Linguistic power wielding and manipulation strategies in group conversations between Turkish-Danish children. In: J. N. Jørgensen A. Dahl and P. Svenoniu eds. Proceedings of the19th Scandinavian Conference of Linguistics vol. 31: Bilingualism pp. 780-795.

  • MATOESIAN G. 2005. Nailing down an answer: Participation of power in trial talk. Discourse Studies vol. 7 no. 6 pp. 733 - 759.

  • MULAC A. and BRADAC J. 1995. Women’s styles in problem solving interaction: Powerless or simply feminine. In: P. Kalbfleisch and M. Cody eds. Gender power and communication in human relationships. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers Hillsade pp. 83 -105.

  • NG S. and BRADAC J. 1993. Power in language: verbal communication and social influence. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

  • O’BARR W. and ATKINS B. 1998. Women’s language or powerless language. In: J. Coates ed. Language and gender: A reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd pp. 377 - 388.

  • REES-MILLER J. 2000. Power severity and context in disagreement. Journal of Pragmatics vol. 32 no. 8 pp. 1087 - 1111.

  • RUSSELL B. 2004. Power: a new social analysis. London and New York: Routledge.

  • SCOTT J. 2001. Power: Key concepts. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • SPENCER-OATEY H. 1996. Reconsidering power and distance. Journal of Pragmatics vol. 26 no. 1 pp. 1-24.

  • THORNBORROW J. 2002. Power talk: Language and interaction in institutional discourse. London: Longman.

  • TILEAGA C. 2006. Discourse dominance and power relations: Inequality as social and interactional object. Ethnicities vol. 6 no. 5 pp. 476 - 497.

  • VARENNE H. 1987. Analytical ambiguities in the communication of familial power. In: L. Kedar ed. Power through discourse. Norwood NJ: Ablex Publishing pp. 129 - 151.

  • VINE B. 2004 Getting things done at work: the discourse of power in workplace interaction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

  • WARTENBERG Th. 1990. The forms of power: from domination to transformation. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

  • WATTS R. 1991. Power in family discourse. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • WEATHERALL A. 2002. Gender language and discourse. Hove: Routledge.

  • WEBER M. 1962. Basic concepts in sociology. New York: Philosophical Library.

  • WEBER M. and RUNCIMAN W. 1978. Max Weber: selections in translation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • WEST C. and ZIMMERMAN D. 1983. Small insults: A study of interruptions in cross-sex conversations between unacquainted persons. In: B. Thorne Ch. Kramarae and N. Henley eds. Language gender and society. MA: Newbury House Rowley pp. 103 - 117.

  • WEST C. and ZIMMERMAN D. 1998. Conversational dominance in mixed talk. In: J. Coates ed. Language and gender: A reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. pp. 165 - 175.

  • WEST C. 1998. When doctor is a ‘Lady’: Power status and gender in physician-patient encounters. In: J. Coates ed. Language and gender: A reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. pp. 396 - 417.

  • WODAK R. and MEYER.M. 2001. Methods of critical discourse analysis. Thousand Oaks California: Sage Publications pp.1 - 13.

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.25

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.144
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.447

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 468 203 5
PDF Downloads 268 126 8