Tag: power

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

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 […]

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

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….. […]

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

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 both top political scientists (Cheeseman at Birmingham […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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Which aspects of How Change Happens resonate with campaigners?

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 […]

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The WDR 2017 on Governance and Law: Can it drive a transformation in development practice?

  Stefan Kossoff (DFID’s governance czar) reviews the new WDR, published this week. For those of us working on governance this week’s publication of the 2017 World Development Report on Governance and Law (WDR17) has been hotly awaited. And I’m pleased to say the report–in all its 280 page glory–does not disappoint (there’s a 4 […]

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Is the Anti-Politics machine still a good critique of the aid business?

Just been re-reading a great 6 page summary of James Ferguson’s 1994 classic critique of the aid industry, The Anti-Politics Machine. Read this and ask yourself, apart from the grating use of the term ‘Third World’, how much has changed? ‘Any question of the form ‘what is to be done?’ demands first of all an […]

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What can Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the Matrix teach us about how change happens?

Chatting to academics in the US last week, we swapped notes on the merits of using shared cultural references to convey some of the key ideas around how change happens. They act as a short cut, allowing subtle, nuanced ideas to be discussed on the basis of a large pool of common knowledge. You need […]

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A lesson on power and the abstruse (or a love-peeve relationship Part 2)

Duly provoked by yesterday’s assault on IDS’ use of language, John Gaventa responds with a really nice story/rebuttal As ever, we are delighted to see Duncan Green’s interesting and incisive blog on the new IDS Bulletin on Power, Poverty and Inequality. In talking about what he calls his ‘love – peeve’ relationship with IDS, Duncan […]

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Power, Poverty and Inequality: a ‘love-peeve’ new IDS bulletin

I have something of a love-hate relationship with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in Brighton, or more accurately, a love-peeve. I love the topics, the commitment to bottom-up approaches, and the intellectual leadership IDS has shown over the years on a whole range of issues dear to my heart. The peeve stems from its […]

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Some highlights from the first 30 book launches for How Change Happens

I’m about six weeks into launching How Change Happens, and am having a great (if knackering) time. Highlights so far include a Kurdish/Dutch guitar combo warming up the crowd in Nijmegen, conversations with an Islamic finance entrepreneur trying to do financial inclusion in South Wales, a great group of women managing a community-run service station […]

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