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On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X


ZAAIMAN, Johan. Power and freedom: Reflecting on the relationship. Koers (Online) [online]. 2021, vol.86, n.1, pp.1-15. ISSN 2304-8557.

This article contributes to the debate on the relationship between power and freedom. Freedom is currently a burning issue in political discourses. It is therefore important to evaluate the relationship between these two important concepts and present a basis for further critique and cognition about this relationship. The article briefly evaluates certain philosophical perspectives in this regard; particularly the theoretical contributions of Oppenheim, Pettit, Kristjánsson and Morriss. By reflecting on these perspectives it is concluded that human beings' rationa capacities present them with the opportunity to imagine freedom. However the option of freedom to choose one's own preferences is constrained by a social contract that guarantees and limits freedom. In contrast, power could interfere with freedom by eliminating specific actions or frustrating others from choosing actions or by not suppressing obstacles in this regard. The protection of freedom lies therefore in continuous negotiation, open dialogue and struggle for it.

Keywords : Power; freedom; definition; concept; liberalism; unfreedom.

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