IDS Bulletin 37.6

Exploring Power for Change

Published on 1 November 2006

Concepts and methods of participation’ are used increasingly to shape policy and deliver services. Such approaches throw new light on complex interactions within and between society and state institutions at all levels. They lead to questions about how different kinds of knowledge and values shape policy choices.

  • What are the societal and political processes through which power operates that inform whose voice is heard and whose is excluded?
  • What is power?
  • Is it about making people act against their best interests; or is it the glue that keeps society together?
  • What are the connections between power and social change?

These questions are at the core of research and teaching at IDS, and this IDS Bulletin presents current work on the practice of power in development and the entry points for change.

Contributions to this issue, and ways in which power is interrogated, are very varied – despite a shared commitment to exploring its meaning for social change. In categorising power in the way the team has, the intention has not been to offer a comprehensive or exclusive framework for analysis. Rather, a positive spiral between reflection and transformation is constructed, concluding that the role of the action researcher/teacher is to explore with others how power can be harnessed for change, and to work alongside them in tracing and learning from the myriad of micro-level efforts, successes and failures.

Table of contents

Introduction: Exploring Power for Change (PDF) Rosalind Eyben, Colette Harris and Jethro Pettit

In Search of a Cultural Interpretation of Power: The Contribution of Pierre Bourdieu (PDF) Zander Navarro

Finding the Spaces for Change: A Power Analysis (PDF) John Gaventa

The Power of Stigma: Encounters with “Street Children” and “Restavecs” in Haiti (PDF) Joy Moncrieffe

Doing Development with Men: Some Reflections on a Case Study from Mali (PDF) Colette Harris

The Master’s Tools Revisited: Can Law Contribute to Ending Violence Against Women? (PDF) Chris Hunter

Power and Pedagogy: Learning for Reflective Development Practice (PDF) Jethro Pettit

Power in Aid Relationships: A Personal View (PDF) Cathy Shutt

The Power of the Gift and the New Aid Modalities (PDF) Rosalind Eyben

Transforming Power: From Zero-Sum to Win-Win? (PDF) Robert Chambers

Power and Transformation in Higher Education Institutions: Challenges for Change (PDF) Peter Taylor and Susan Boser

Challenging the Boundaries of the Possible: Participation, Knowledge and Power (PDF) John Gaventa and Andrea Cornwall

Cite this publication

Eyben, R. Harris, C. and Pettit, J. (2006) Exploring Power for Change, Brighton: IDS

Citation copied


Image of Rosalind Eyben
Rosalind Eyben

Emeritus Fellow

Image of Jethro Pettit
Jethro Pettit

Director of Teaching and Learning & Research Fellow

Access this publication

Download as PDF PDF

Publication details

published by
Eyben, R., Harris, C. and Pettit, J.
Rosalind Eyben, Colette Harris and Jethro Pettit
IDS Bulletin, volume 37, issue 6


About this publication

Related content