Theories of power and social change. Power contestations and their implications for research on social change and innovation

Flor Avelino*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This paper proposes a meta-theoretical framework for studying power in processes of change and innovation. Power is one of the most contested concepts in social and political theory. This paper discusses seven prevailing points of contestation: Power over versus power to, centred versus diffused, consensual versus conflictual, constraining versus enabling, quantity versus quality, empowerment versus disempowerment and power in relation to knowledge. The paper reviews how different scholars have dealt with abovementioned points of contestation and identifies how different theories of power can be translated into specific empirical questions to systematically explore power in processes of social change and innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-448
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Political Power
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Power
  • social change
  • social innovation
  • sustainability transitions

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