I’m Not in Love with the Word Empowerment

Bud Hunt, Sept 21, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I am generally in agreement with Bud Hunt's concern with the word 'empowerment' though I'm probably not going to stop using it. He says, "for me to empower you, especially when I hear the word used by others, I’ve got to have something that you don’t have, and I have to give it to you." In this sense, it is like 'giving freedom' or 'giving choice', as though these things wouldn't exist without your magnificence. But that isn't the sense in which I use the term - I think of 'empowerment' as supporting capacity. It's an act of helping rather than giving. But that requires first accepting that you had no legitimate power to give in the first place.

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