How Change Happens | Economics | Oxfam

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Human society is full of would-be 'change agents', a restless mix of campaigners, lobbyists, and officials, both individuals and organizations, set on transforming the world. They want to improve public services, reform laws and regulations, guarantee human rights, get a fairer deal for those on the sharp end, achieve greater recognition for any number of issues, or simply be treated with respect. Striking then, that not many universities have a Department of Change Studies, to which social activists can turn for advice and inspiration. Instead, scholarly discussions of change are fragmented with few conversations crossing disciplinary boundaries, rarely making it onto the radars of those actively seeking change. This book bridges the gap between academia and practice, bringing together the best research from a range of academic disciplines and the evolving practical understanding of activists to explore the topic of social and political change. Drawing on many first-hand examples from the global experience of Oxfam, one of the world's largest social justice NGOs, as well as the author's insights from studying and working on international development, it tests ideas on How Change Happens and offers the latest thinking on what works to achieve progressive change.
  ‘ In this powerfully argued book, Duncan Green shows how we can makemajor changes in our unequal and unjust world by concerted action,taking full note of the economic and social mechanisms, includingestablished institutions, that sustain the existing order. If self-con 󿬁 denceis important for the effective agency of deprived communities, so is areasoned understanding of the dif  󿬁 cult barriers that must be faced andovercome. This is a splendidtreatise on how to change the actual world  —  in reality, not just in our dreams. ’ Amartya Sen, Thomas W. Lamont University Professor,and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Harvard University  ‘ In  How Change Happens , Duncan Green points to a simple truth: thatpositive social change requires power, and hence attention on the part of reformers to politics and the institutions within which power is exercised.It is an indispensable guide for activists and change-makers everywhere. ’ Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow atthe Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI),and the Mosbacher Director of FSI ’ s Center on Democracy,Development, and the Rule of Law, Stanford University  ‘ It was George Orwell who wrote that  “ The best books …  are those thattell you what you know already. ”  Well in Duncan ’ s book   How ChangeHappens  I have found something better: A book that made me think differently about something I ha v e been doing for my entire life. He hascaptured so much in these pages, drawing on global and national andlocal change and examples from past and present. But what makes this book so insightful is that at all times we are able to see the world throughDuncan ’ s watchful eyes: From his time as a backpacker in South Americato lobbying the WTO in Seattle and his many years with Oxfam, this issomeone who has always been watching and always been re 󿬂 ecting. It isthis gift that will most help Duncan ’ s readers  —   whether they be studentsor those who think they have seen it all. There is always more to noticeabout such a complex, changing world. And the more we can see, the better we will be at making change happen. ’ Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International ‘ Once again, following  From Poverty to Power  , Duncan has given us a remark-able tour de force, wide-ranging, readable, combining theory and practice,and drawing on his extensive reading and rich and varied experience.  HowChange Happens  is a wonderful gift to all development professionals andcitizens who want to make our world a better place. It confronts contem-porary complexity, systems, power, and wealth and builds on an extraor-dinarily rich treasury of experience andevidence to give us a new, grounded  realism for development practice. Only after reading and re 󿬂 ecting have I beenabletoseehowbadlywehaveneededthisbook.Itdoesmorethan 󿬁 llagap. The evidence, examples, analysis, insights, and ideas for action are aquietbutcompellingcallforre 󿬂 ectiononerrorsandomissionsinone ’ sownmindset and practice. Here then we have vital reading for all developmentprofessionals, practitioners, and activists, and all concerned citizens. It is asrelevant and important for South as North, for funders as activists, forgovernments as NGOs, for transnational corporations as campaigning citi-zens. We are all in thistogether.  How Change Happens  should stand the test of time. It is a landmark, a must read book to return to again and again toinform and inspire re 󿬂 ection and action. I know no other book like it. ’ Robert Chambers, Research Associate,Institute of Development Studies ‘ This is a gem of a book. Lucidly written and disarmingly frank, it distilsthe author ’ s decades of experience in global development practice toshare what can work and what may not, in changing power relationsand complex systems. Again and again I found myself agreeing with him.All of us  —  practitioners  and  academics  —   who want a better world, andare willing to work for it, must read this book. ’ Bina Agarwal, Professor of Development Economics and Environment,Global Development Institute, University of Manchester ‘ This fascinating book should be on the bedside of any activist  —  andmany others besides. Duncan Green is the rare global activist who canexplain in clear yet analytical language what it takes to make changehappen. Ranging widely from Lake Titicaca in Peru to rural Tajikistan,from shanty towns to the halls of power, this is a book sprinkled with wisdom and insight on every page. ’ Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International PoliticalEconomy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University  ‘  How Change Happens  is a positive guide to activists. It is one of the mosthelpful,hopefulandthoughtfulmanualontheprocessoftransformation.Itis an optimistic book; to be an activist you need to be an optimist! Whenone feels despondent and disheartened then reading this book will help toencourage,energise,andinspireonetoparticipateinthecreationofabetter world. Duncan Green makes the case with vivid examples that signi 󿬁 cantchanges have taken place and continue to take place when social andenvironmental activists employ skilful means and multiple strategies suchas advocacy, campaigning, organising, and building movements. It is a wonderful book. Read it and be enthused to join in the journey of change. ’ Satish Kumar, Founder of Schumacher College andEditor Emeritus  , Resurgence & Ecologist   ‘ The world committed to global transformative change in   , with the   Agenda and targets in the Paris Climate Agreement to stay well below   °C and achievecarbonneutralityby the secondhalfof the century.We need to understand how change happens in order to accelerate ourpathway to a safe future. Duncan Green ’ s book is a timely and badly needed guide to bringing about the necessary social and political change. ’ Mary Robinson, Chair of the Institutefor Human Rights and Business
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