Journal Article

Journal of Political Power;

Beyond the Prepositions: Using Power Analysis to Inform Strategies for Social Action

Published on 11 December 2020

This article reviews longstanding debates about the relationship between power over and power to – often posed as the tension between domination and emancipation. It then turns to several frameworks which integrate these approaches to inform strategies for social action.

In particular, it focuses on recent empirical studies which apply one such framework, the ‘powercube’, to glean insights into how social actors navigate across multiple forms, spaces and levels of power. In so doing, we gain clues into how relatively powerless groups develop the capacities for agency and action which challenge domination and in turn give new possibilities for emancipation.

Cite this publication

Gaventa, J. (2020) 'Beyond the Prepositions: Using Power Analysis to Inform Strategies for Social Action', Journal of Political Power [Preprint] Special Issue of Journal of Political Power, 10.1080/2158379X.2021.1878409


John Gaventa

Research Fellow and Director, Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) programme

Publication details

published by
Taylor and Francis
Gaventa, John


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