Featured image for “Where have we got to in Understanding Power as the basis for Activism? Great new review.”

Where have we got to in Understanding Power as the basis for Activism? Great new review.

March 31, 2021
John Gaventa has been thinking, writing and theorising about power for at least four decades. His new essay ‘Linking the prepositions: using power analysis to inform strategies for social action’ should be on the reading lists of anyone at the wonkier end of the activist spectrum. It summarizes and reflects on some of the main frameworks for understanding power that
Featured image for “How to think about Power – aka Learning from my Students”

How to think about Power – aka Learning from my Students

February 3, 2021
My LSE Masters module on Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots Activism kicked off recently with a great discussion on the nature of power. Tom Kirk, who teaches the course with me, asked each of the seminar groups to buzz on ‘how has your disciplinary background shaped your understanding of power’. Some fascinating patterns emerged. If you come from somewhere ‘interesting’ (e.g.
Featured image for “Book Review: How to Rig an Election, by Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas”

Book Review: How to Rig an Election, by Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas

November 3, 2020
Thought I’d repost this book review from 2018 today. No particular reason…. A lot of the power of a successful book is in its ‘big idea’ – the overall frame that endures long after the detailed arguments have faded in the memory. On that basis, ‘How to Rig an Election’ looks set to do very well indeed. The authors are
Featured image for “#PowerShifts Resources: Anti-Racism in Development and Aid”

#PowerShifts Resources: Anti-Racism in Development and Aid

June 23, 2020
‘White saviour complex’, ‘poverty porn’, ‘locals’ vs. ‘expats’. These terms are all part of an old conversation that has revived as a result of the mass protests calling for racial justice and anti-racism across the US and globally. Racism in development and aid is not a new issue, so why does it continue to be overlooked? Sadly, I’ve noticed a notable silence from
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Who is an expert?

October 23, 2019
In this meta-reflection for Power Shifts, Farida Bena urges us to rethink what expertise means within the development and aid sector, and to address the organizational and structural barriers that hinder the transformation of this concept into a more justice-oriented one
Featured image for “How Change Happens: the podcast”

How Change Happens: the podcast

July 23, 2019
I spoke to Jo Howard from IDS about How Change Happens for their book podcast Between the Lines. Here it is: With podcasts, I always try to provide a blog-length set of excerpts for people who prefer reading to listening, but I honestly couldn’t bear to listen to myself this time. So huge thanks to Maria Faciolince for taking the

*New*: #PowerShifts Resources

May 2, 2019
Remember a month ago we told you about an exciting new project we’ve launched and asked all of you to suggest names for it? After many debates, confusion, over-thinking, we have it. Because this exercise that FP2P is embarking on implies shifting the power of who’s talking, what we’re talking about, how we’re talking about it, and acknowledging all of

Who you Gonna Call? Engaging ‘Public Authorities’ for Rapid Crisis Responses

April 4, 2019
I’m doing some interesting work with Tom Kirk at LSE as part of the CPAID research programme, on the way donors/aid agencies understand power (aka ‘public authority’) in fragile/conflict settings. As seems to be the way in academia, Tom does all the work, and I get to add my name to the result – what’s not to like? Here he

What I learned about Public Authority from spending two days with a bunch of anthropologists, political scientists and others.

May 30, 2018
The Centre for Public Authority in International Development had its annual get together in Ghent last week. It really hurt my head, but the pain was worth it – I learned a lot. Here are some overall impressions, and then tomorrow, my top lightbulb moment – public authority through the eyes of a dead fish….. Firstly, anthropologists are amazing. I

Week One and my students are already exposing my limitations – this is wonderful!

February 1, 2018
This term, I’m teaching a new course at LSE based on How Change Happens. It’s called ‘Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots activism’. It lasts 11 weeks, and is the first fully fledged university course I’ve taught, complete with lectures, seminars and assessed work (essays, but also blogs and vlogs). So far, I’m loving it. I realized how much fun this could become

Book Review: How to Resist: Turn Protest to Power, by Matthew Bolton

September 5, 2017
Full disclosure: Matt Bolton works for Citizens UK, an organization of which I am a big fan, and who my son works for, but if you’re OK with that level of bias, read on. Citizens UK is a fascinating community organization, with a reputation far beyond its relatively small size (currently about 30 full time staff). For a fuller description

Which aspects of How Change Happens resonate with campaigners?

July 12, 2017
Writing, and then promoting, How Change Happens has often left me feeling a bit remote from ‘the field’, with a nagging anxiety that what I am saying no longer has much connection with what people are doing on (or at least closer to) the ground. So it was great to get online with some of Oxfam’s best and brightest campaigners