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Indian AsceticismPower, Violence, and Play$
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Carl Olson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190225315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190225315.001.0001

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Power and Theory

Power and Theory

(p.189) 8 Power and Theory
Indian Asceticism

Carl Olson

Oxford University Press

The previous chapters enable a reader to see how violence, the demonic, language, and forms of play are all intertwined with power and contribute to a broader understanding of the nature of power and asceticism. This final chapter begins with a review of four scholarly theories of power, which are subjected to a pragmatic test as a prelude to offering an alternative way to look at the nature of power by performing a thought experiment. It is argued that power is an elusive, diverse, and ubiquitous phenomenon that is uncanny, making it difficult to define. It is also argued that power needs to be grasped within the context of its numerous associations with phenomena such as violence, the demonic, language, and playful elements such as eroticism, the comic, and miracles.

Keywords:   power, theories of power, pragmatic test, thought experiment, play, uncanny, Mircea Eliade, Michel Foucault, Gerardus van der Leeuw, Thomas Wartenberg

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