Envisioning Power. Some Considerations on the Reception of Eric Wolff's Latest Work

Variant title

Envisioning Power. Alcune considerazioni sulla ricezione dell'ultimo lavoro di Eric Wolf 


In the year 1999, shortly before his death, Eric R. Wolf published a book entitled Envisioning Power, in which he argued that the human sciences have overlooked how cultural configurations intertwine with power relations. In that book, Wolf also tried to show the way to explore the historical relationship between ideas, power, and culture, by investigating three societies located in different times and spaces: the Kwakiutl, the Atzechi and the Hitler's National Socialist Germany. After providing a brief summary of the book, this article focuses on the reception of Wolf’s ideas. Envisioning Power has been reviewed by several experts in the field, such as S. R. Barrett, S. Stokholm, J. Burke, A. Forbes, H. E. L. Prins, I. Portis-Winner, D. Nugent, R. Rotenberg, and A. Macfarlane. The main goal of the article is to show the extent to which Envisioning Power has attracted consensus or stimulated controversy.



Italian (it)


Salvo AndòJagiellonian University in Krakow


Orbis Idearum Volume 3, Issue 1 (2015), pp. 115–123
The Idea of Power