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Wessels, Theresa, 2022. Planners’ notions of power : Analysis of practice stories about participatory planning in Latin America. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



Participatory processes are becoming widely established in areas such as policy and planning. They promise to achieve more inclusive, sustainable, and democratic outcomes. However, this is often only an ideal that is not achieved in reality due to dynamic power relations that shape planning practice in various forms. Moreover, planning contexts differ between countries, producing different power dynamics that affect participatory processes. Planners have an essential role in identifying and facilitating different power relations, so their role is often linked to guiding participatory planning processes towards more balanced outcomes. Yet, the issue of power is insufficiently addressed and analyzed in the planning literature of the Global North and the Global South.

To contribute to the discussion on power in participatory planning in the Global South and beyond, this study investigated how planners understand and experience power in Latin America. Therefore, interviews with planners from Argentina, Bolivia, and Colombia were conducted. Their practice stories were analyzed by drawing on the framework of the three dimensions of power. After being introduced to the three dimensions of power, they could relate to the second and third dimensions of power to varying degrees through their practical experience.

The planners' practice stories illustrate how power can be exercised differently in the three dimensions and in the interplay of these dimensions in participatory planning processes. The practice stories make less visible power exercises in the second and third dimensions in planning practice more visible. Thus, they provide practical examples for planners that can promote reflection and understanding of how power works in practice. Furthermore, the findings point to the importance of looking beyond the formal, invited spaces of participatory planning processes and considering exercises of power that take place outside of planning processes. Therefore, the value of this work is that it provides valuable insights that can stimulate reflection and contribute to the development of a discussion on power in participatory planning in the Global South and beyond.

Main title:Planners’ notions of power
Subtitle:Analysis of practice stories about participatory planning in Latin America
Authors:Wessels, Theresa
Supervisor:Calderon, Camilo
Examiner:Westin, Martin and Holmgren, Sara
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM026 Environmental communication and management - Master's programme
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:power, participation, planning, planner, first dimension of power, second dimension of power, third dimension of power, Latin America, global south
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Rural sociology and social security
Deposited On:04 Jul 2022 12:37
Metadata Last Modified:08 Jul 2022 11:00

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