Power relations are seen by many as an obstacle to reducing poverty and inequality. There is a growing appetite for understanding power and for being more strategic about it, and a number of useful frameworks are now available. But the complexity of power makes it difficult to know which concepts to use, or how to develop capacities to put them into practice.
This article argues that these questions need to be answered together: the multiple faces of power require multiple faces of learning. The case is made for using ‘deep’, experiential and reflective approaches that combine rational reflection and technical analysis with more embodied, emotional and creative methods of sense-making. Such capacities also need to be supported through adaptive, context-sensitive and applied methods, not imparted in abstract or instrumental ways. Emerging thinking about capacity supports this view, and could benefit from traditions of adult education and reflective learning.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 41.3 (2010) Multiple Faces of Power and Learning