Background to

group photo of workshop  brings together a number of resources for understanding power relations in efforts to bring about social change.  This is collective effort, representing contributions from members of the Power, Participation and Social Change (PPSC) group at the Institute of Development Studies as well as a number of others from NGOs, donor agencies and community-based organizations across the world. Many of these contributors participated in a workshop at IDS on ‘power analysis in practice’ in June 2009.

Much – but not all – of the pack focuses on uses and applications of the powercube. The powercube is an innovative conceptual tool that can be used for understanding and analysing the way power works in processes of governance, in organizations, and in social relationships. It combines a multi-faceted approach to the various dimensions of power with a spatial mapping of the diverse spaces and levels in which these power relations are encountered. Use of the powercube can help those working to deepen participation and to shift power relations to identify appropriate strategies for particular contexts and moments.

First developed at IDS, the powercube has grown in popularity and use among the development organisations and NGOs with whom we work.  The powercube – and its dimensions of power, spaces and levels – has also been used effectively in combination with other concepts, tools and methods for power analysis, some of which are also included on this website. is a response to requests from many people for more practical and conceptual methods, materials and resources to help them think about and respond to power relations within their organizations and within wider social and political spaces and institutions.   We hope that these resources, drawn from the input of dozens of people who are using the power cube as well as other approaches, will help to fill that need.

We also strongly encourage you to engage with this website and become co-creators of a continually improving resource, by sharing your experiences, ideas and tools with us. If you would like to send us your own resources to add to this website and share with others please contact us.


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