Strategies and forms of power

Visible power – Strategies to challenge visible power often involve forms of lobbying, public advocacy, and mobilization to affect what decisions are made, be they on policies, budgets, rules or procedures. Similar strategies are used inside organizations to articulate voices through the ‘official’ decision making channels.

Hidden power – Strategies which address this form of power focus on strengthening people’s voices and capacities to speak out, mobilizing and organizing to overcome the barriers to participation, using research and media to challenge how issues are framed. Often when we talk about hidden power, we talk about how people affected negatively by power may challenge it, to make their voices more visible.  For instance, just changing the rules about who is allowed to speak in a public meeting can bring new voices or issues to the table.   But hidden forms of power also can involve more hidden forms of action as well, in which people resist domination and control through less public ways. Read about resistance as hidden power.

Invisible power – Strategies for challenging invisible power involve approaches like awareness raising, adult education, participatory research to validate peoples’ own knowledge, uses of the media and popular communication methods to challenge dominant stereotypes and discourses, changes in approaches to schooling and socialization, etc.

The Power Matrix from Just Associates gives further examples of strategies to deal with each form of power. Read also the introduction to the Power Matrix written by Valerie Miller.

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