Power Dynamics Activities
On this page are several activities designed to explore Power Dynamics. Please read through the Introduction section before you peruse these activities, and if you have time, read the powerpack-web-version-2011 document. The activities in the first section should be do-able without serious study into Power Dynamics, but the activities in the second section require that you at least read the powerpack document.
NOTE: If you have tried any of these activities and would like to LEAVE A COMMENT, please go to the bottom of this page. Specify the activity name or number.
Section 1 Definitional
Activity 1: Defining Visible, Hidden and Invisible Power, also reviewing Power over, Power To, Power With.
Power Definitions 1 Discuss power as a concept that has many definitions, discuss and define Visible, Hidden, and Invisible Power, also Power Over, Power To, and Power with; discuss using cartoons. Materials needed for workshop also include: definitions worksheet and the cartoons to use for matching with definitions are here. Note: The definitions should be broken up into multiple sessions. Additional exercise, after all the terms have been presented, to help build the power vocabulary using images can be found here (exploring power using images activity).
Power Definitions 1 Lesson 4: Tapping Game In this activity, the three forms of power, Visible, Invisible and Hidden are illustrated through this game and the discussion that follows. This is a really useful way to get at the insidiousness of Invisible power in a non-threatening way.
Understanding Power Lesson (intro): Agree Disagree Game with Power Statements on United Workers Strategy In this exercise, participants actively think about and discuss their own conceptions about power relationships within the campaigns we are waging through a walking exercise between two points at opposite ends of the room (Agree and Disagree)
Activity 6: Power Cube Analysis Basics In this activity, participants will use the definitions they have learned to build a framework for analyzing power called the powercube! Here are instructions for making the cube for your group before the session. Here is a photo of how a finished powercube can look. Here is the intro powercube activity that involves using real world scenarios to run through and practice using the cube as a group.
learn the basic definitions of the various ways power works according the the Powercube. There is a brief powerpoint presentation which you can use if you like. You can also simply draw the cube and discuss the definitions using the script (or an approximation) included in the Lesson Plan.
Activity 7: Discussing Mouseland Using Forms of Power Basics
- Mouseland Lesson Plan
- Mouseland (the movie) (also available in MP4 format from United Workers office)
- Mouseland en español (traducido y con dibujos hechos por
Activity 8: Power and the School-to-Prison Pipeline In this activity, participants will think about how invisible power insidiously sets up a narrative which participants fall into. In studying the experience of black boys in school, and the way they are set up to ‘be bad’ from the beginning through injustly harsh disciplinary practices, participants will gain an understanding of how invisible power works in our own lives and beliefs.
- Power and School Discipline Lesson Plan
- Media Link to This American Life Podcast Is This Working, originally aired Oct 17, 2014
This section is for participants who will be spending more time, and want a more indepth understanding of Power Dynamics. It is expected that facilitators will read through all the materials, including the powercube document before facilitating, and that participants will spend more time on the activities, and commit to a sustained period for their study.
Activity 1: Preparing to Study Power in Our Campaigns In this activity, seasoned participants create a timeline of their own work in order to study power and how the forms, spaces and levels of power interact on the ground. This is a preparation for an indepth study of power in Activity 2, and preparation for serious strategy sessions using a good analysis of power and how we can interact with it, use it, create it, and modify our work because of it.
The Powercube Abridged In this activity, participants do a shared reading of the abridged version of John Gaventa’s 90-page powercube document. As they work through the document, they think through their own United Workers campaigns in parrallel. This is a preparatory activity for leaders who will be strategizing future steps with the campaign.