Comprehending Power in Christian Social Ethics
Christine Firer Hinze examines how socio-political power has been modeled in recent social theory and Christian ethics, and considers its theological and sociological underpinnings. The interaction of two models of power, "power over" and "power to" is traced in the works of selected religious (Reinhold Niebuhr, Jacques Maritain, Paul Tillich, and Martin Luther King, Jr.) and social (Max Weber, Karl Marx, Hannah ARendt, Michel Foucault, and Anthony Giddens) theorists of the past century. Hinze advances a constructive argument in favor of a theory that systematically integrates power's superordinating and collaborative features, and does so in a manner that coheres with the ethicist's underlying theological and sociological commitments. Appealing to a variety of warrants, she offers a comprehensive approach to power that takes "power to" as its descriptive and normative starting point and relegates "power over" to a limited and strictly instrumental role in socio-political practice.