Finding the Spaces for Change: A Power Analysis

Published on


Around the world, new spaces and opportunities are emerging for citizen engagement in policy processes, from local to global levels. Policy instruments, legal frameworks and support programmes for promoting them abound. Yet, despite the widespread rhetorical acceptance, it is also becoming clear that simply creating new institutional arrangements will not necessarily result in greater inclusion or pro-poor policy change. Rather, much depends on the nature of the power relations which surround and imbue these new, potentially more democratic, spaces. All of these changes point to the need for activists, researchers, policymakers and donors who are concerned about development and change to turn our attention to how to analyse and understand the changing configurations of power. If we want to change power relationships, e.g. to make them more inclusive, just or pro-poor, we must understand more about where and how to engage. This article shares one approach to power analysis; an approach which has come to be known as the ‘power cube’ and provides some reflections and examples of how this approach has been applied in differing contexts. This paper introduces Gaventa's Power Cube.


John Gaventa

Available languages