Seeing institutions in different ways
Seeing institutions in different ways

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Seeing institutions in different ways

Relationships and power

What, finally, about the third view of institutions? Consider the opening two sentences of Hulme’s picture of the ‘institutional landscape for attacking global poverty’:

The institutional landscape for tackling global poverty is a vast terrain which lacks clear boundaries and involves a web of multilateral, national, sub-national and local institutions spread across the public sector, private business and civil society. It is also a dynamic landscape comprised of institutions reflecting the power structures and principles of different eras.

(Hulme, 2010, p. 81)

Two concepts are prominent here:

  • Relationships: Hulme may be talking of the ‘big players’, but they are not players who play – or can play – on their own. Hulme uses a number of terms to spell out the reality that institutional development depends on relationships between agencies, its quality and qualities shaped by the dynamics of the relationships.
  • Power: In my original look at Hulme’s picture, I suggested that, ‘Perhaps most strikingly, the picture is one of power plays and politics’. Power drives the action and that institutional development can be seen most fruitfully as the outcome of power struggles.

I might have selected many other concepts from each of the passages I have looked at. But I want to turn finally to a rather different kind of concept, that I can best illustrate with reference to the story of BancoSol: the concept of ‘levels of action’.

TU872_2

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371