When activists try to change people’s lives, or tackle the injustices that they face, we are actually trying to change power equations.
What is power? Where does power operate? Where does power come from? All About Power: Understanding Social Power and Power Structures is an essential primer for activists who want to explore how power impacts their work in order to design strategies from a more comprehensive, shared definition and analysis of power as it operates in society.
This publication, by feminist activist, trainer, and scholar Srilatha Batiwala, recognizes that concepts like power are abstract and that we each understand power in our own way. At the same time, understanding power in its many forms is critical to achieving social change, regardless of our specific areas of work, constituencies or geographic location.
The publication structures the approach to understanding power through five core questions – providing a framework for approaching the complex concept, defining key sources of power, and analyzing how it operates, in order to effectively challenge the power structures which perpetuate injustices, inequalities and marginalization.
We think power is something that has to be changed outside, in the larger society or community – not within ourselves.
- Introduction 4
- What is it? 12
- Where does it operate? 22
- Where does it come from? 32
- What does it look like? 42
- How is it expressed? 52
- How does it work? 68
- Power and Power Mapping: Start Here
- Quotes about Power and Social Change
- It’s All About Power: A Guide to Thinking Differently about Power for Solidarity in Social Change
- A Guide to Power Analysis in Community Organising
- Pillars of Power Analysis: Identify the Institutions
- The Little Book of Power