Understanding power

Power is important. As the philosopher Bertrand Russell pointed out: ‘the fundamental concept in social science is power, in the same sense in which energy is the fundamental concept in physics.’ Yet, despite all the interest in the politics of development in the past decade or so, there has not been enough systematic engagement with questions of power.

A tighter analytical grip on how power works would expand the range of options available to analysts and policymakers who want to understand how change does or doesn't happen. So this new DLP research project looks beyond the classic works of Gaventa, Cornwall, Escobar and Scott to build a typology of power. Our aim is to identify different contexts, sources and types of power, and use this analysis to evaluate the work of both academics and practitioners. We also hope to build an analytical framework that will capture the multidimensional nature of power. It will be used across a range of cases to show the benefits that a tighter analytical grip on power can bring.

 

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About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more

News

New findings on education and developmental leadership in the Philippines

Thursday 15th September 2016

New research from DLP and the University of Glasgow explores the role of higher education in the emergence of leaders who promote development in the Philippines. See the policy brief, podcast and paper.

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Political settlements in Africa

Thursday 7th July 2016

Political settlements in Africa, the politics of inclusion and the role of international actors were the focus of the most recent BISA Africa Working Group workshop, convened by DLP Research Fellow Suda Perera at the University of Birmingham.

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