Friday, January 8, 2010

Engagement and/or Empowerment?

Masthead from David Warwick's blog, 2cents Worth

I follow David Warwick's blog, and I was interested in a recent blog post so much that I thought I'd share it with you.  Warwick examines the different connotations and denotations of the words engagement and empowerment.  It's a good read.  What Warwick doesn't address is the politics around the word empowerment.  I often hear people say that they want "to empower youth"  (or students, or  . . . pick your object term).  This seems to imply that one person (typically a person in power) possesses power and can then empower someone else.  It strikes me as teacher-centric language.  Chaka Mkali, a very effective community organizer at Hope Community, uses the phrase power development, which I think gets to the heart of the matter more succinctly and accurately.  I've tried to use Chaka's language in classes and meetings.   I'd love to know your thoughts.

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