Power, Rights, and Poverty: Concepts and Connections

While the terms power and rights are increasingly incorporated into the language of development agencies, they have yet to fully permeate the practice of poverty reduction. Acknowledging that this partly results from a lack of clarity over the concepts of power and rights and partly from questions of how to operationalize these ideas, the World Bank and the UK Department for International Development co-sponsored a series of short papers for focusing on enhancing understanding of the relationships between power, rights, and poverty reductions. Following discussion during a two-day working meeting, this publication brings together the edited papers, along with a selection of supplementary materials. A first series of papers addresses competing definitions and conceptual issues around power and rights, illustrating these with experiences observing and applying the concepts in practice in different countries. Following this, papers address topics aimed at helping development practitioners to apply these concepts to their work. Part II contains the supplemental materials, including a summary of the major theoretical conceptualizations of power, and an overview of the literature on power and rights. Prepared by leading thinkers on the topics of power and rights these materials offer both development professionals and students of development studies succinct summaries of the relationship between theory and practice.