Web review: Powercube: understanding power for social change
Cox, Laurence (2011) Web review: Powercube: understanding power for social change. Journal of Political Power , 4 (2). ISSN 2158-379X
Powercube is a wide-ranging website (an earlier version, usefully included in PDF form, runs to over 100 pages) outlining a method of analysing power in its different dimensions, together with a range of tools and resources for using this analysis in teaching and practice situations. The project apparently relies on funding from the Swedish and Swiss aid budgets, and (through the Citizenship Development Research Centre project) the UK budget. The material itself (going on the acknowledgements in the text version and the resources) seems to have been primarily developed through work with international development NGOs in particular (Oxfam, Christian Aid, Carnegie Trust as well as other, smaller organisations and students) and is oriented in particular towards the problems of relatively isolated, issue-focussed campaigning groups seeking the ear of local, national or international policy-makers. The website is nicely presented (unlike the text version, which suffers from formatting problems) and is easy to navigate. At its core is an analysis of power along three dimensions. One is a development of Lukes’ three dimensions, as visible, hidden and invisible forms of power. Another is an analysis of closed, invited and claimed spaces of power. The third is the local-national-global dimension. This analysis is the core contribution of Powercube. It is expanded into a wide range of workshop resources geared to teachers and facilitators, including case studies, handouts, papers, pictures (cartoons etc.), websites and some video, and a considerably thinner (in quantity as well as substance) section on strategy and action.
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