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The power mapping tool: A method for the empirical research of power relations


  • Schiffer, Eva


"This paper presents an innovative participatory method to visualize, discuss and analyze the power of different actors in a given governance field. The Power Mapping Tool was first used to analyze the governance effects of Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) in Namibia. This example is presented as a case study to show how the method works: The actors involved are represented by board game figures that are characterized through “range-of-action-cards” and put on wooden “power towers” to show their power in the governance field. The result is a three dimensional sketch that provides quantitative data and guides the qualitative discussion about reasons for and effects of the power of different actors. In the case of Namibian CBNRM Power Mapping helped to understand how power indeed had been devolved from the national to the local level. However, on the community level elite-capture was seen as a serious problem. In this research the Power Mapping Tool proved to be easy to use with a very diverse mix of interview partners and provided not only a wealth of data but also increased the interviewees' understanding of their own situation." from Authors' Abstract

Suggested Citation

  • Schiffer, Eva, 2007. "The power mapping tool: A method for the empirical research of power relations," IFPRI discussion papers 703, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:703

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bina Agarwal, 1997. "''Bargaining'' and Gender Relations: Within and Beyond the Household," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 1-51.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alejandro Bonvecchi & José Henríquez & Julia Johannsen & Natasha Morales & Carlos Scartascini, 2015. "¿Quiénes deciden la política social? Economía política de programas sociales en América Latina," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 90183 edited by Alejandro Bonvecchi & Julia Johannsen & Carlos Scartascini, February.
    2. repec:idb:idbbks:7065 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Stuart Gillespie & Mara van den Bold, 2016. "Stories of Change in Nutrition: A Tool Pool," Working Papers id:8225, eSocialSciences.
    4. Spielman, David J. & Kelemework, Dawit, 2009. "Measuring Agricultural Innovation System Properties and Performance: Illustrations from Ethiopia and Vietnam," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 50791, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. World Bank, 2008. "Uganda Sustainable Land Management : Public Expenditure Review," World Bank Other Operational Studies 16807, The World Bank.
    6. Aberman, Noora-Lisa & Birner, Regina & Haglund, Eric & Ngigi, Marther & Ali, Snigdha & Okoba, Barrack & Koné, Daouda & Alemu, Takei, 2015. "Understanding the policy landscape for climate change adaptation: A cross-country comparison using the Net-map method:," IFPRI discussion papers 1408, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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    Governance; Participatory methods; Decentralization; Natural resource management; Political power;

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