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Hardcover | Out of Print | 336 pp. | 6 x 9 in | October 1996 | ISBN: 9780262112161
Paperback | Out of Print | 336 pp. | 6 x 9 in | January 1999 | ISBN: 9780262611480
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The Power of Dialogue

Critical Hermeneutics after Gadamer and Foucault
Translated by Paul Hendrickson


Translated by Paul Hendrickson. Exemplifying a fruitful fusion of French and German approaches to social theory, The Power of Dialogue transforms Habermas's version of critical theory into a new "critical hermeneutics" that builds on both Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics and Foucault's studies of power and discourse. Kögler argues for a middle way between Gadamer's concept of interpretation as dialogue (which has been faulted for its strong focus on the agent's own self-understanding) and Foucault's conceptualization of the structure of discourse and the practices of power (which has been faulted for neglecting the role of individual subjectivity and freedom in social interaction). At the book's core is the question of how social power shapes and influences meaning and how the process of interpretation, while implicated in social forms of power, can nevertheless achieve reflective distance and a critique of power. It offers an original perspective on such issues as the impact of prejudice and cultural background on scientific interpretation, the need to understand others without assimilating their otherness, and the "truth" of interpretation.


“Kögler's book will occupy a special niche in the field, because although there are some good books on Gadamer, and a plethora on Foucault, there are not many that successfully bring Gadamer and Foucault together. Debates about the effectiveness of critical resistance to social patterns of domination are heated these days, and Kögler's book should show that there is a sensible middle ground and not a standoff between the two major approaches to this problem.”
David Hoy, Professor & Chair, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Santa Cruz