This paper seeks to present a synthesis of the analyses of Michel Foucault’s social power,
taking into account the content of the lectures he gave in Collège de France since the
second half of the 1970s. Based on the counterfactual assumption about the theoretical continuity and coherence of the deliberations of this French sociologist, I will try to
reconstruct the discursive model of modern power, contrasting his assumptions with the
principles which are foundations of the previous types of power (sovereign and disciplinary power). In this respect, the representation, constitution and revocation of subjectivity, the difference between the ideological explanation and the perspective of knowledgepower and the conditions and limitation of the emancipation of consciousness are crucial.
This analysis allows to determine the practically impossible – but theoretically necessary – category of ideal power, which sheds light on the directions and methods of the
expansion of modern power and indirectly indicates the sources of its efficiency and possible defensive tactics. As regards the last issue, it is particularly important to differentiate
between the endlessly open social criticism and the thoroughly ahistorical temptation
of demythologisation (posing a threat to it), which naively looks for the non-discursive
foundations of knowledge.