Power and Theories of Change

Development Politics has finally laid down it curtain, after 3 months of extensive seminars, which I found it unique beyond conventional teaching, uncovers the thick border between development and politics. It all started with blazing introductory of primacy of politics and then understand elites that shape the politics and development. Towards the end I came to understand that there are other elements such as democracy, autocracy, ethnicity, foreign intervention and social movement that might be contributed into development life circle.

When we talk about power and theories of change, it’s pretty amazing how the Japanese rebuild their nation after suffered catastrophic nuclear strikes in Nagasaki and Hiroshima that bring the war in Pacific to it end. Sixty over black South African that died in 1960’s Shaperville massacre weren’t able to watch the apartheid regime finally dethroned but their legacy shall be remembered forever. Rosa Parks may not known publicly before the Montgomery Bus incident, but her defiant to give way to white passenger contributes to growing African-American Civil Right Movement in 1955. These are among known stories of people’s struggle while many more untold stories are yet to discovered in social development’s history.

Power is the ability to do change. Whether bad or good change, it depends on how the power is enacted. Nelson Mandela may have all the power he had to take revenge on the apartheid regimes, but he chooses to move forward and bring his nation into unity. Indeed, Lord Acton reminds us when he quotes “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”, absolute power can be extremely hazardous. Examples of absolute power corrupting are Roman emperors who went to declared themselves gods and Napoleon Bonaparte who became authoritarian.


To me, there is no definite theory in changing, however throughout the history, we have learnt that change is started from individual consciousness which can grow into social awareness. Change can be straight forward but often the case, the journey to it encountered serious impediment. Change may need sacrifices and often costly. Surely it must be special and indescribable joy for people that has put everything in their life, years of fighting for change, to witness change finally comes to real.


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