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2019/2020  KAN-CSPKO1003U  Power and Communication

English Title
Power and Communication

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Social Sciences
Course coordinator
  • Mitchell Dean - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
Main academic disciplines
  • Communication
  • Political leadership and public management
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 27-06-2019

Relevant links

Learning objectives
After completing the course, the student is expected to be able to:
  • understand and begin to use concepts of power, e.g. in governmentality studies, in their analysis of second order strategies
  • analyse how organizations seek to shape the action of others in a wide variety of cases
  • to understand the strengths and limits of second order analysis of power in Foucault and others
  • to reflect on the differences between key thinkers such as Foucault, Agamben, Zizek and Luhmann in relation to the analysis of power
Course prerequisites
Please note that the exam in this course is integrated with "Teknologi og ledelse", "Refleksiv Intervention og Kommunikation" and "Projekt i Refleksiv Ledelse og Strategisk Kommunikation". This requires that all students are signed up for all of the above mentioned courses.
The course shares exams with
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The course focuses on and compares major frameworks for thinking about power and communication in our society: from Foucault’s genealogy of power and government, to Agamben’s economic theology to Luhmann’s power-analysis and Zizek’s critique of ideology. The course thematizes how each of these perspectives can be applied to different and varied cases and to different and varied forms of communication: as governmental rationality and discourse, as technologies of power, as political ritual and truth-telling, as economic marketing etc.

The overarching aim is to give the students an overview and insight in relation to the concept and phenomenon of power in such a way as to maintain and expand the insights of post-structuralism and second-order analysis. The purpose is to see that the students build their competences in analysing the characteristic problematics and practices that a power perspective focuses on, including the role of political and governmental communication in liberal democracy, and the persistence of power formations such as biopolitics and sovereignty. Contemporary examples will be employed to illustrate the analytical strategies.


Description of the teaching methods
The teaching method alternates between lectures, plenary discussions, case studies and student-based exercises
Feedback during the teaching period
As this course is not directly assessed, feedback consists of ongoing in-class feedback from listening to students on level of understanding of texts and lectures and the use of in-class exercises to give students an overview of whether they are following the expected learning curve.
Student workload
Teaching 24 hours
Preparation 72 hours
Expected literature

M. Dean (2010) Governmentality: Power and Rule in Modern Society. Sage, London, 2nd edn. (or if you prefer, see 2006 Danish Translation of the first edition). Especially Chapter One.

M. Foucault (1991) 'Questions of method', in C. Gordon et al. (eds) The Foucault Effect. Studies in Governmentality. University of Chicago Press, pp. 73-86.

Last updated on 27-06-2019