First Draft of ‘How Change Happens’ now ready – anyone want to read it?

October 30, 2015

     By Duncan Green     

Now for the scary part. Can I ask for a big favour? The first draft of my next book, How Change Happens, is ready,

They probably need to read this book

They probably need to read this book

and I’m keen to get comments from as wide a range of people as possible. Deadline 10th December. Anyone out there prepared to chip in? If so, you can download the whole manuscript here  – it’s not pretty but click on the page icon on the RHS and it should work – let me know if there’s a problem. Just below it is the page for the outline, in case you want to read before deciding whether to download the whole (160 page) thing. If you are able to comment, please do so in the comments section on this blog, or by email to acoryndon[at]Oxfam[dot]org[dot]uk.

The book will be published by Oxford University Press in October 2016 (in hardback, and free online as a pdf – props to them for going full Open Access). It will be accompanied by an online platform with extra materials, and a MOOC (online educational course). All v funky and exciting.

I’m now making a disorienting transition from a year in an ivory tower (well, my spare bedroom) writing to non stop consultation and powerpoint. Internal conversations next week in the US at Oxfam America, USAID and a public meeting at CGD in Washington next Wednesday at 2pm, if you’re around. Something at DFID later in November, then Melbourne and Canberra (tba). There may be other events to follow – I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s the basic pitch for the book, from the outline:

‘‘There is nothing permanent except change’, Heraclitus, 6th century BC

author_sell_thyselfThe philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.’ Karl Marx, 1845

Human society is full of would-be ‘change agents’, a restless mix of campaigners, organizers and development workers, both individuals and organizations, set on transforming the world. They want to improve public services, reform laws and regulations, guarantee human rights, achieve greater recognition for any number of issues or simply be treated with respect.

Striking then, that universities have no Department of Change Studies, to which social activists can turn for advice and inspiration. Instead, scholarly discussions of change are fragmented with few conversations crossing disciplinary boundaries, or making it onto the radars of those actively seeking change.

This book brings together the latest research from a range of academic disciplines and the evolving practical understanding of activists. Drawing on many first-hand examples from the global experience of Oxfam, one of the world’s largest social justice NGOs, as well as the author’s 35 years of studying and working on international development issues, it tests ideas on How Change Happens and sets out the latest thinking on what works to achieve progressive change.’

A student at LSE asked a colleague recently ‘isn’t he that bloke who keeps banging on about his book?’ Oh dear, and still a year to go til publication……….


October 30, 2015
Duncan Green