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The social world depends increasingly on digitalization. A new virtual world is emerging within which people, computers and devices keep getting data change with far reaching consequences. All areas of social life both public and private will be affected in the future. Many worry about the consequences of the digitalization of life as threatening fundamental rights such as the right to self information determination, privacy as well as social justice in the digital world. At the same  time, however, a digital world can also significantly contribute to the emergence of a more open, just as well as solidary society.

The disruptive character of the digital technology has undoubtedly significant impact on the distribution and exercise of power in the society. Reflecting on the debates on power, Steven Lukes introduced three faces of power in the 1970s in which power is exercised through three ways: decision-making power, non-decision-making power, and ideological power. The first two faces of power provides behavioral conception of power, while the third constitute a critique to them. The ideological conception of power is supposed to enable us to understand power in its personal and non observable rather than public dimensions such as  one’s wishes, preferences and subjective interests which tends to be excluded in the political processes.

As machines and algorithms instead of ideology are increasingly shape the wishes, the preferences and the interest of the individual, it is important to discuss how this change will affect our understanding of power. Is the understanding of power as reflected in Lukes’ Three Faces of Power still relevant in our society today? This session will locate power in the contemporary social world. More specifically it will analyse how power will be distributed and exercised in the contemporary social world shaped by the digital revolution.