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What is empowerment?

How do we change? In particular, what are the change processes we undergo that constitute transformative learning events in our lives—the kinds of changes that alter our worldview and therefore our politics irreversibly. Sometimes the change required for liberation of an oppressed group is fundamental, radical and requires the revision of comprehensive doctrines (sets of beliefs) held by the majority of a population.

As Audre Lorde wrote of change, ‘I do not mean a simple switch of positions or a temporary lessening of tensions… I am speaking of a basic and radical alteration in those assumptions underlining our lives.’ Ludwig Wittgenstein might have called this a ‘gestalt’ switch; Thomas Kuhn, a paradigm shift. Our understandings of how violence against women and girls (VAWG) is prevented must account for the human capacity to change.            

Mark Marchant is a research fellow in political theory at LSHTM. His work focuses on the relationship between learning and change. He studies community engagement in health research, including vaccine trials and epidemic responses. In the Gender Violence and Health Centre, Mark’s focus is on applying theory to practice in understanding how change happens in preventing violence against women and girls.


Hashtags: #16Days #GBV+HIV

Twitter handles: @lshtm_gvhc @giulipsy



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Michael Naranjo      

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