Director’s Blog


by Prof. Mohan Dutta

It was summer. A summer when the violence escalated.

In those months, when the repression accelerated from polite threats to sit down meetings to direct threats to the accusations, I was writing this encyclopedia entry on Power and Control for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication.

Witnessing power work through the cells of my body, feeling my body respond to the repression from bouts of throwing up to losing consciousness, disrupted my understanding of power as communicative, anchoring the discursive sites of power in material articulations.

I felt the brute effect of power even as I was writing about it.

My readings and re-readings of Marx, Adorno, Gramsci were intimately intertwined with my experiences with power, resisting it, and negotiations of it in an ever-contingent space of (im)possibilities.

In this Review, I explore the interplays of the discursive and the material in the production of power and control. Power is both a force that perpetuates oppression as well as a vital source of emancipatory resistance. The review works through the question of power from interpersonal and organizational levels to political, economic, and societal realms. It attends to the contemporary context of power in the digital, circulated through structures and networks of data, in the surveillance and manipulation of behaviors, and the continuous search for extractive sites for digital capital.

Here is the link to the article:

APA citation:

Dutta, M. (2018). Power and control in communication studies. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Oxford University Press. doi:


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