CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

Consensus/Dissensus: A relational alternative to the metaphor of power

Department

Department of Family Therapy

Publication Date

1-1-1989

Publication Title

Journal of Strategic and Systemic Therapies

Volume

8

Issue

2&3

First Page

58

Last Page

64

Abstract

The legitimacy of the notion of "power," originally debated by Gregory Bateson and Jay Haley, continues to be a point of contention among family therapy theorists and clinicians. This paper discusses power as an artifact of Newtonian science and examines some of the serious problems that can arise when such a metaphor is used as an explanatory device for human interaction. THe ideas of "consensus" and "dissensus" are developed as alternative pattern-oriented notions which are more in keeping with the cybernetic epistemology proposed by Bateson.

Comments

Reprinted in Germany as: (1989c). Konsens - Dissens: Eine relationale alternative zur macht-metapher. Zeitschrift fur Systemische Therapie, 7(3), 159-168.