"This book owes its genesis to a conversation over coffee with Philip Pettit, to whom I must first give thanks for support, advice, and friendship during the ten years or so that it has been in progress." (p.IX)
"In all societies, past and present, many persons and groups have been subject to domination. Properly understood, domination is a great evil, the suffering of which ought to be minimized so far as this is possible. Indeed, it is a grave objection to any political theory or doctrine that it would ignore, permit, or even encourage the avoidable domination of any person or group.
Many, I think, would agree with these or similar assertions. This being so, one might expect the subject of domination to constitute a central topic of debate among contemporary political and social theorists and philosophers.
In one respect, this expectation is duly satisfied, for many situations or states of affairs are described in the relevant literatures as involving domination. For example:
- The practice of slavery, wherever and whenever it has appeared, has been described as a form of domination.
- Regimes of systematic discrimination against minority groups—as, for example, those regimes certainly in the past, and to some extent perhaps today, disadvantaging European Jews, African Americans, and homosexuals nearly everywhere—have been described as forms of domination.
- Despotic, totalitarian, and colonial political regimes have all, at various times, been described as forms of domination.
- Entire modes of production—feudal, capitalist, and so forth—have been described as forms of domination, as have more narrowly defined methods of economic organization (e.g., unregulated wage–labor in the nineteenth century).
- Institutional structures, such as the criminal incarceration or mental health systems—especially in the form that these institutions have taken over the past century or two in the West—have been described as forms of domination." (p.1-2)
"For the moment, I do not mean to claim that any or all of these are genuine instances of domination. Whether they are or not remains to be seen. Rather, I mean only to suggest the wide range of situations or states of affairs to which the concept has been applied.
Given this diverse and widespread usage, it stands to reason that political and social theorists must have attempted something like a general analysis of the concept of domination—much as they have with power, equality, autonomy, community, and other basic concepts in social and political theory. In this second respect, however, our expectations are disappointed. General accounts of domination are, to say the least, few and far between. Those that can be found are, for the most part, brief, ad hoc, restricted to one or another aspect or form of domination, hopelessly vague, or some combination of the above. None, to my knowledge, discusses the relative advantages or disadvantages of two or more competing conceptions (as do discussions of negative versus positive liberty, causal versus dispositional accounts of power, and so on). This lacuna is striking [...] The present study aims to redress it. (p.2)
"Domination should be understood as a condition experienced by persons or groups to the extent that they are dependent on a social relationship in which some other person or group wields arbitrary power over them; furthermore, it is terribly wrong for persons or groups to be subject to avoidable domination and thus, as a matter of justice, the political and social institutions and practices of any society should be organized so as to minimize domination, to the extent that this is possible.
The first half of the above statement briefly describes what I refer to as the arbitrary power conception of domination. Part I develops this conception, and argues for its merits as against several possible alternatives. Nearly every aspect of the arbitrary power conception might be considered controversial, and yet nowhere in the literature can one find even a clear list of alternatives, much less a rigorous discussion of their relative merits and demerits. The presentation of alternatives in Part I should be interesting and useful, I hope, even to those who, in the end, remain unconvinced by my arguments for the arbitrary power conception in particular.
The second half of the above statement briefly describes the main idea of justice as minimizing domination, a conception of social justice. Part II outlines justice as minimizing domination, and argues that it offers a better account of distributive justice, multicultural accommodation, and constitutional democracy than do some other well-known theories of social justice." (p.2-3)
"My interest concerns domination in its original meaning as a sort of personal rule or mastery. The term domination ultimately derives from dominus, the primitive Latin word for the master of a house. Eventually, the Romans came to understand domination generally as the opposite of freedom—a free person (liber) was someone not subject to the domination (dominatio) of another, and vice versa. My aim is to develop a theory of domination in roughly this original sense. Much later, of course, the word “domination” accumulated various subsidiary meanings, in English and other languages, derived from this original. Presumably, to describe athletic preeminence as domination, or to say that “pennies dominate her coin collection,” and so forth, was first to engage in metaphor, and only later to use the term in a semantically literal sense." (p.3)
"One underlying theme of this study is that all forms of domination should be considered unjust, and that domination should be reduced whenever and wherever it occurs, at least so far as this is feasible." (p.4)
"A successful theory should sit reasonably well with our relevant pre-existing intuitions concerning the concept of domination. Of course, it is not necessary that the theory vindicates all of our intuitions exactly as they presently are, and in any case people’s intuitions often differ ; but a successful theory must respect them at least to the extent that it is recognizably a theory of domination and not something else." (pp.4-5)
"For some time, I have been dissatisfied with the liberal-contractualist doctrine that is pre-eminent in contemporary (Western) political theory and philosophy. The term liberal contractualism here refers to a loose tradition encompassing the ideas of figures such as John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant, and in our own day John Rawls, Brian Barry, Thomas Nagel, T. M. Scanlon, and others. Roughly speaking, liberal contractualists contend that just political and social institutions and practices are those that reasonable people in a diverse or pluralistic society would agree can serve as the impartial basis for a fair system of cooperation. Admittedly, this is an extremely attractive political doctrine in many respects. For one thing, it is “political, not metaphysical,” as the slogan goes, because it does not appear to depend on the truth of any particular conception of the good or comprehensive doctrine. For another, it holds out the powerful vision of a perfectly voluntaristic society—that is, a society in which no one is forced to live under political and social institutions that they do not accept as reasonable and fair." (p.6)
"Despite these important strengths, however, liberal contractualism has come under increasing criticism in recent years. Feminists have attacked the liberal-contractualist strategy of shielding the private sphere from public or political interference, which, they argue, masks considerable gender domination in the family and obstructs efforts to redress this persistent injustice. Deliberative democrats have attacked liberal contractualism for valuing individual rights too highly over the need for robust democratic participation, and for providing no more than weak, instrumental arguments on behalf of minimal representative democracy. Multiculturalists have attacked liberal contractualism for failing to perceive the various cultural injuries inflicted by liberal institutions, and for being unable or unwilling to do anything about them. There is some truth, in my view, to these (and other) criticisms. Each strikes at the very core of liberal-contractualist doctrine, for the difficulty in each case arises (albeit, in somewhat different ways) from the aspiration to achieve a voluntary consensus on shared political and social institutions and practices through the consignment of important moral and ethical disagreements to the private sphere of civil society." (pp.6-7)
"Outside the academy, liberal contractualism faces a different set of challenges. In particular, an extremely important and perhaps underrated challenge is presented by what one might call common sense libertarianism. The need for a progressive political doctrine that can effectively compete with common-sense libertarianism has become especially pressing with the collapse of radical theories such as Marxism and socialism. So long as the latter were taken seriously, liberalism served as a sort of moderately progressive middle way between the far right and the far left. For many people, however, it is no longer possible to view liberalism in this way. The effect of this can be seen, for example, in the growing difficulty liberals now have in articulating the case for redistributive policies that would combat severe poverty and inequality. There is undoubtedly a variety of reasons for this rhetorical weakness in the face of common-sense libertarianism. One might be that it is increasingly difficult for people to view their society as a system of mutual cooperation, given the importance now placed on privacy, individualism, personal autonomy, and so on (values which, ironically, liberalism itself has partly been responsible for promoting). Certainly, there are others as well, but it is not important to elaborate. What is important is that justice as minimizing domination represents a possible progressive alternative." (p.7)
"In recent years, there has been a remarkable resurgence of interest in the republican tradition of Western political thought. This tradition includes the writings of Machiavelli and his fifteenth-century Italian predecessors ; the English republicans Milton, Harrington, Sidney, and others ; Montesquieu and Blackstone ; the eighteenth-century English commonwealthmen ; and many Americans of the founding era such as Jefferson and Madison. These writers emphasize many common ideas and concerns, such as the importance of civic virtue and political participation, the dangers of corruption, the benefits of a mixed constitution, the rule of law, and so on. Often, they are called the “classical republican” (or sometimes, “neo-Roman”) political writers because they characteristically draw on classical examples—from Cicero and the Latin historians especially—in making their various arguments.
One group of contemporary theorists, represented by Quentin Skinner, Philip Pettit, Maurizio Viroli, and others, has aimed to develop insights from this tradition into an attractive civic republican (or neo-republican) political doctrine. On their view, what ties together the classical republican writings is a deep commitment to the core value of political liberty or freedom, where this last idea is crucially understood, not as the absence of interference (as on the standard negative liberty view), but rather as the absence of domination. Political liberty, in other words, is a sort of independence—from slavery, from despotic or autocratic government, from colonial subjugation, and from other sorts of mastery or domination. Once understood in this light, it is clear that robust civic virtues, active political participation, a mixed constitution, the rule of law, etc., are cherished by the classical republicans as instrumental goods, useful in securing and maintaining political liberty so understood. What is more, their writings can thus be seen as contributing—admittedly in an often haphazard and inchoate manner—to the development of an attractive political doctrine that is independent and distinct from the mainstream liberal tradition that eventually supplanted it." (p.
"This civic republican interpretation of classical republican tradition should thus be carefully distinguished from an earlier, and competing, civic humanist interpretation, as found for example in the work of Arendt (1990, 1993); Wood (1969); Pocock (1975); or Rahe (1992). On the civic humanist view, active political participation and civic virtue are understood to be constitutive of the best human life, and thus are valued intrinsically (not instrumentally). This is not my view, nor is it the view of Skinner, Pettit, Viroli, and the other civic republicans." (note 9 p.8 )
"The mutual affinity between Pettit’s project and the conception of social justice as minimizing domination advanced in this study should be obvious. From one point of view, the latter could be seen as merely a redescribed and systematized version of the former. There are also, however, significant differences between the two—for instance, my inclusion of dependency in the conception of domination, our differing accounts of arbitrariness, and the different connections we draw between freedom from domination and democracy. Also, this study addresses in detail topics such as distributive justice and multicultural accommodation that have been given scant attention in the civic republican literature until recently." (p.9)
"This story might be surprising because many are not in the habit of regarding republicanism as an especially progressive political doctrine. While I agree with Pettit that the progressive potential can be found in the classical republican writings, it is important to emphasize that—unlike Pettit—I am not interested in squaring my conclusions here with anything that one can find in the classical republican tradition. Indeed, the discussions that follow will often seem wholly detached from what many readers would regard as the typical concerns of the contemporary civic republicans." (p.9)
"As Judith Shklar would say, we are on more solid ground when we begin with some concrete summum malum such as domination rather than some vague and hypothetical summum bonum." (p.10)
"A robust theory of domination will be valuable even to those not particularly interested in or sympathetic with the contemporary civic republican agenda." (p.11)
"Weber’s general definition of domination is stated only briefly, without elaboration, justification, or any consideration of alternatives." (p.11)
"The term “domination” does not merit an entry in The Social Science Encyclopedia (1996), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Science (1991), the Dictionary of Political Thought (1996), the Encyclopedia of Sociology (2000), nor any other comparable reference work of which I am aware." (pp.11-12)
"Before studying the causes and effects of domination (or anything else, for that matter), one should have a clear idea of the thing itself whose causes and effects one intends to research." (p.16)
"From the point of view of developing a conception of social justice as minimizing domination, we want to know not what some particular writer means in using the concept, but rather what the best available understanding of the concept is and why." (p.17)
"The arbitrary power conception naturally divides into three primitive building blocks: the idea of being dependent on a social relationship, the idea of having social power over another person or group, and the idea of being able to exercise such power arbitrarily. These are the topics of Chapters 2, 3, and 4, respectively." (p.20)
"This [normative] part of the argument can also be divided into three stages: first, an account of why non-domination should be regarded as an important human good; second, an account of how a conception of social justice based on this idea is best structured; and third, examples of how this conception would operate in practice. These are the topics of Chapters 5, 6, and 7, respectively. Chapter 7 argues, among other things, that justice as minimizing domination supports the public provision of an unconditional basic income, the extension of special cultural accommodations under some conditions, and constitutionally restrained democracy as the optimal form of government." (p.21)
"I argue that domination should be defined structurally, according to a specific understanding of that term. I reject the idea that domination should be characterized in terms of the contingent outcomes or results of certain actions or events—as, for example, that one group dominates another when the former benefits at the latter’s expense.1 Rather, I argue that whenever persons or groups are structurally related to one another in a particular way, this situation in itself constitutes domination, regardless of the outcomes or results we happen to observe in any particular case. But at the same time, I reject the view that structures themselves dominate people, as if there can be subjects of domination without there also being agents. In other words, in my view, domination is always a relationship among different persons or groups, never a relationship between people and structures as such." (p.25)
"A dispute between two competing conceptions of domination can be thought of as a dispute regarding which fact patterns should count as forms of domination. Now, if it were simply a question of my list versus yours, it would indeed be difficult to see how our dispute could ever be resolved in a reasonable manner. Of course, we often have fairly strong intuitions concerning what should count as domination, and these intuitions may serve as the basis for drawing up an initially plausible list of its forms. But when our intuitions differ—as often they do—there would seem to be no good reason for preferring one list to another as such.
This is why we should think of a conception of domination as a rule or principle for sorting real or hypothetical fact patterns into sets. The conception is the sorting principle itself, whereas a list of domination’s various forms is merely the by-product of applying that principle to a range of possible examples.
This important distinction, between a sorting principle and the list of forms that is its by-product, makes possible an answer to the question of how disputes concerning different conceptions can be resolved in a reasonable manner. The idea is to first propose a sorting principle, and then to test it against a range of cases. Assuming that our intuitions regarding some of those cases (specifically, whether they should count as genuine instances of domination) do not correspond with the results generated by the proposed sorting principle, we will have to make revisions in the former, the latter, or both. In making these revisions, our judgments are guided by the relative strength of our various intuitions, and by the power and utility of alternate sorting principles: roughly speaking, one sorting principle is better than another if it captures more of our stronger intuitions with greater conceptual efficiency. After an iterated process of testing and revising, we eventually arrive at a conclusion we are happy with—in other words, we end up with a sorting principle that sits well with the intuitions we have decided, after reflection, to keep. This approach is sometimes called the case method of analysis. When successful, it results in what John Rawls calls a “reflective equilibrium” with respect to the concept at issue." (p.27)
"Consider, therefore, the following reasonably typical passages:
 Absolutism was essentially just this: a redeployed and recharged apparatus of feudal domination, designed to clamp the peasant masses back into their traditional social position—despite and against the gains they had won by the widespread commutation of dues.
 Slavery is one of the most extreme forms of the relation of domination, approaching the limits of total power from the viewpoint of the master, and of total powerlessness from the viewpoint of the slave.
 As a little economy and a little state, ruled by a father-king, the family has long been a setting for the domination of wives and daughters (sons, too). It isn’t difficult to collect stories of physical brutality or to describe customary practices and religious rites that seem designed, above all, to break the spirits of young women.
 Up to now, we know only two authentic forms of totalitarian domination: the dictatorship of National Socialism after 1938, and the dictatorship of Bolshevism since 1930. These forms of domination differ basically from other kinds of dictatorial, despotic, or tyrannical rule." (p.29)
"While these uses of the concept of domination are not uncontroversial, they represent fairly central cases of what one would intuitively expect an acceptable conception of domination to cover. One thing we might gather from these passages is that the authors seem to think of domination as a sort of relationship between persons or groups. The instances of domination we have include: the apparatus of feudalism, the institution of slavery, certain sorts of familial arrangements, and totalitarianism. In each case, what is being described as domination is a particular manner in which persons or groups might stand in relation to one another.
I will argue that this view is fundamentally correct, and that our conception of domination should indeed be based on this idea. In order to argue this, however, I first need to explain the general idea of a social relationship." (p.30)
"Like ethical egoism, psychological egoism is almost certainly false." (note 10 p.33)
"Whenever what we want to do, if we are going to be rational, depends in part on what others are likely to do, this is called a strategic situation." (p.34)
"Whenever two or more persons or groups are, in some significant respect, fully related to one another strategically, let us say they are engaged in a social relationship. Or, in Max Weber’s words:
The term “social relationship” will be used to denote the behavior of a plurality of actors insofar as, in its meaningful content, the action of each takes into account that of the others and is oriented in these terms.
Not all relations among people are social relationships, so defined. Sometimes, this is simply because our actions have no significant effect on other people. Even when some significant outcome is the joint product of many people’s actions, however, the individuals involved still might not be engaged in a social relationship. A classic example is the so-called tragedy of the commons scenario. Imagine a group of families sharing a common lake. Each family can, with some degree of effort, properly dispose of their waste, or else, with no effort, merely dump it in the lake. In the former case, each family must bear the entire cost of proper disposal themselves; in the latter case, since their waste is dissipated throughout the lake, each family hardly notices its marginal contribution to lake pollution. Every family faces exactly the same trade-offs in favor of dumping. In such scenarios, the outcome (a level of lake pollution) will be the joint product of the actions of all. But from each individual family’s point of view, it does not matter what the other families do: regardless of whether the others pollute the lake or not, the trade-offs facing each family individually favor polluting. This, of course, is ultimately worse for everyone (hence the tragedy). But the relevant observation here is a narrow one. Since the preferred course of action for each individual in such scenarios does not depend on what the others do, they are not engaged in a social relationship." (p.35)
"Situations that are non-strategic in this way are sometimes called parametric. In a parametric situation, even if what I want to do is, in a technical sense, dependent on what others do, for the most part I need not take this into account, since the relevant aggregate outcomes of their actions are highly predictable and unaffected by my own decisions. Thus, when I am related to others parametrically, I need not worry how their decisions will strategically interact with my decisions." (pp.35-36)
"Many other situations would, however. Relations of domination provide a notable example. Consider one of the core cases mentioned earlier in this chapter—early modern European feudalism. Peasants must anticipate the punishments nobles are likely to dish out if they do not receive their feudal dues, and the former must plan their purposeful action accordingly. Nobles, for their part, must consider what peasants are likely to do if excessive demands are imposed on them. This is true even if the peasants are too weak as a class to seriously threaten the social position of the nobility: if the nobles’ demands are too great, for example, the peasants might plausibly believe that they will be punished no matter what they do, and thus the threat of punishment will no longer have its desired incentive effect. This is a fully strategic situation, and so the imagined peasants and nobles are engaged in a social relationship. Similar stories could be told in each of the other core cases of domination mentioned earlier." (p.36)
"Might there be subjects of domination without there being agents? In my view, the best answer is no—or, at any rate, not unless we want to use the term domination metaphorically." (p.37)
"Let us call the degree to which a person or a group’s continued membership in some social relationship is not voluntary their level of dependency on that social relationship. Dependency should be thought of as a sliding scale, varying according to the net expected costs (i.e., expected costs less any expected gains) of exiting, or attempting to exit, a social relationship. It should go without saying that dependency on a given social relationship need not be symmetric (my dependency is not necessarily high just because yours is), nor zero-sum (my dependency is not necessarily low just because yours is high). From the degree of dependency of one member in a given social relationship, nothing can be inferred about the extent of the dependency of the other members.
To forestall any confusion later on, let me emphasize that I will not distinguish between an exit attempt’s being (relatively) costly and its being (relatively) involuntary. On some conceptions of what is voluntary and involuntary, these might not be the same. For example, suppose a border patrolman points his gun at someone trying to flee her country, and shouts “Stop right there, or I’ll shoot!” Clearly, continuing in her exit attempt should be regarded as costly, but if she decides to stop this might nevertheless be thought a voluntary decision in the sense that, strictly speaking, it remains within her power to assume the risk. [Contrairement à Hobbes] I do not regard this as a useful conception of what it means for something to be voluntary or involuntary. Accordingly, I will simply define the degree to which membership in a social relationship is involuntary as equivalent to the relative expected costs (less the relative expected gains) of attempting to exit.
Exit costs must be understood broadly here. They are not limited to material costs alone. Quite the contrary, exit costs are often to some extent psychological, and thus subjective. The dependency of a person on a particular social relationship depends on her (true or false) beliefs about the dangers of an exit attempt, together with her (true or false) beliefs about the merits of any outside options relative to the merits of her present situation. Sometimes, it is in the interest of some members of a social relationship that others in the same relationship not attempt to exit: in such cases, the former have every reason to increase the dependency of the latter. This they might do simply by explicitly raising the direct costs of exit—making the punishment for attempted flight more severe, say. Alternatively (or in addition), they might propagate the belief that the current arrangement is beneficial and natural, that the alternatives are much worse than they seem, or even that the (apparent) alternatives do not exist at all. Any of these strategies, to the extent that they succeed, would increase levels of dependency on the social relationship. In short, what determines dependency is the cost of exit from the subjective point of view of the person or the group in question.
Imagine that a person is engaged in a social relationship she regards as exceptionally valuable. Perhaps she is the personal advisor of a powerful king, or she holds an unusually lucrative job. If she values her current position highly enough, she might subjectively regard her exit costs as severe, even if her next best option is—at least by objective standards—not bad at all. (We must factor in diminishing marginal returns here, of course: in order to generate equivalent exit costs, the absolute difference between two relatively good
options must usually be greater than the absolute difference between two relatively bad options.) She is “bound by golden fetters,” so to speak. Should we regard her dependency as correspondingly high ? For the purposes of developing a conception of domination, the best answer is yes. [...] But it is worth pointing out here that dependency as such is not necessarily a bad thing. Many of the most valuable connections among human beings—partnerships of friendship or love, parental relationships, and so on—are unavoidably relationships of dependency. Dependency is a problem, however, when conjoined with certain other factors that, taken together, constitute domination." (pp.39-40)
"Particular masters and slaves will make different choices within their respective opportunity sets. For example, one master might be unusually harsh in the treatment of his slaves, whereas another (who faces, by assumption, more or less the same opportunity set) is comparatively lenient. It follows that even when two social relationships have roughly the same structure, the outcomes or results of each might differ substantially. Something similar, of course, can be said of marriages in nineteenth-century England or America. While the structural environment defined by traditional Anglo-American family law and custom was broadly similar for all marriages, each individual marriage played itself out very differently. Many husbands treated their wives with respect, even if they were not constrained to do so by traditional law and custom ; others did not.
Certainly, slavery counts as an instance of domination, if anything does. Many would also say (rightly, in my view) that women were subject to domination at the hands of their husbands under traditional family law and custom. Now suppose we thought that domination had something to do with the outcomes or results of a particular social relationship. In this case, we would have to examine how each social relationship happens to play itself out in order to determine whether anyone is actually subject to domination or not. For example, if we define domination as one person or group benefiting at the expense of another, then to determine whether a particular slave is subject to domination, we must determine whether that slave’s master has actually benefited at his expense. Likewise, we would have to look and see whether a particular husband benefited at the expense of his wife in order to determine whether she was subject to domination. Since different people, even when faced with similar opportunity sets, will make different choices, the results will vary from case to case, and so too will our findings of domination. Let us call this an outcome-based conception of domination.
Of course, I have been talking about specific individuals here—particular masters and slaves, particular husbands and wives. One might interpret the outcome-based conception somewhat differently, on the level of groups. We might say, for instance, that one group (e.g., women) is subject to domination if another group (men) generally benefits at the former’s expense through a particular institution (traditional marriage). This would not alter the main point. On this revised definition, we must still examine the aggregate results of the institution, and not its internal structure, in order to determine whether it constitutes domination or not. If it should turn out that women on
the whole benefited from the traditional institution of marriage, then it would follow—whatever structure traditional marriage relationships happened to have—that women were not, by definition, the subjects of domination.
Now suppose we take a different view, according to which domination refers not to any specific pattern of outcomes or results, but rather to the structure of social relationships as such. From this viewpoint, it would not matter how a particular relationship happened to play out: we would be committed to saying that, other things being equal, the slave of a lenient master is a subject of domination no less than the slave of a harsh master (though, of course, their situations may certainly differ in other respects, such as in their respective levels of health, happiness, and so forth).
Let us call this second view a structure-based conception of domination. Which of these two views is better ? Different readers may have different intuitions.
My view, however, and the view probably of a majority of those who have reflected on this question, is that the second is better. In other words, on the best view, domination should be understood to refer to the structure of a social relationship itself, and not to the specific ways in which it happens to play out in some particular case observable results are not always a good indicator of what is really going on in a given social relationship. This is because persons and groups subject to domination sensibly adjust many of their actions to minimize its ill effects. For example, they might adopt a public persona that does not challenge the established system of domination.
To the extent that such strategies succeed, the slave might seem not much worse off than some free persons. Indeed, the outcome-based view would seem to commit us to saying that, as a slave comes to understand his master’s psychological dispositions better and better, and thereby increasingly succeeds in avoiding overt abuse, he is less and less subject to domination. This does not seem right. The same point holds in other cases. For example, when traditional family law grants husbands excessive power over their wives, it will often be difficult to say whether a particular husband has failed to exercise his powers out of self-restraint, or merely because his wife (sensibly) has avoided challenging them. “There would be infinitely more” women complaining of ill usage, Mill points out, if complaint “were not the greatest of all provocatives to a repetition and increase of the ill usage.” James Scott’s Domination and the Arts of Resistance is essentially an extended catalog of these sorts of anticipatory moves on the part of persons and groups who are subject to domination. In focusing on outcomes and results, therefore, we often misunderstand the real character of these social relationships.
To be subject to domination is, among other things, to be engaged in a social relationship structured in such a way that one must often employ the arts of deference in order to secure reasonably good outcomes or results. Whether particular slaves or wives, for example, choose to avail themselves of those tactics is neither here nor there; and, by the same logic, whether particular masters or husbands act benevolently because they are intrinsically good-natured, or rather because they have been suitably ingratiated, is irrelevant. The domination lies in the structure of the relationship itself, not in its results or outcomes." (pp.44-47)
-Franck Lovett, A General Theory of Domination and Justice, New York, Oxford University Press Inc., 2010, 273 pages.