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Scholtes, Fabian
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ZEF Working Paper Series 37
This paper offers a conceptual framework for analysing and explaining power based on the so-called Capability Approach to development (CA). This framework is intended as a heuristic device for micro-sociological analysis of political interaction in development practice. A systematic connection of power and CA is provided, understanding power as capability to act upon one's environment. Being directed to the question of why people have the powers they have, the paper also explores CA's potential to explain how social realities come about. The paper first reviews main features of CA. Based on this a concept of power is suggested. Power is understood to be multidimensional and contextual, resulting from the multiple-specific conversion of different sources of power. The framework specifically looks at interaction, in which dimension-specific interpersonal power differentials are constituted, deployed, and changed. The concept of structuration is then discussed to include how inter-action shapes the conditions under which it takes place. Finally, limitations and open questions are addressed.
capability approach
sources of power
conversion factors
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Working Paper

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