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Getting to Grips with Politics in Complex Places: Behaviour, Institutional Change and Political Development - Keynote Address by Greg Power

Thursday 13 June 2019
5pm - 6pm*
University of Warwick
Oculus Building, Room OC 1.08

This lecture will be based on the book that Greg Power is currently writing which draws heavily on his own first-hand experience of working with politicians in some of the world’s most complex political environments.

One of the book’s central arguments is that the functionality of political institutions is determined more by behavioural and cultural norms and practices, than it is by formal processes, rules and structures. It argues that international assistance needs a far better understanding of this dimension of politics if it is to succeed in supporting the transition to more representative political systems.

The examples seek to illustrate how lasting change tends to be built from the existing political logic at work, aligning the interests of individual politicians and the institutions within which they operate. Often the most successful programmes of reform will play directly and simultaneously to a combination of political self-interest and higher principle. Critically though, that approach starts by engaging with political problems through individuals rather than institutions, exploring the logic of politics in different contexts from their perspective, and seeking to alter behaviour rather than seeing ‘success’ embodied in new institutional structures.

The book argues that although international donor’s agencies have in recent years claimed to “get politics”, the form of politics that they are comfortable with is an anodyne and anaemic version of the reality. The key to meaningful political development is to help politicians to become better at politics, but international assistance is still a long way from this form of practical support.

This lecture will follow the Annual Postgraduate Conference. Please see here for more information on the conference.

*This lecture will follow a short ceremony for the 2018/2019 Photography Competition winners. Please join us for a drinks reception after the conclusion of this ceremony.

All welcome!

Entrance is free but please register below for the Keynote Address.

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