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.