Empowerment cannot be achieved in isolation: it requires the collaboration of individuals, organizations, and communities, pooling together resources, knowledge, and expertise. In essence, cultivating relationships becomes a vital component in fostering empowerment. Despite its significance, there remains limited understanding regarding the relational aspects of empowerment, particularly how empowerment can be achieved through building relationships. This talk emphasizes the importance of social network analysis in exploring the relational dimensions of empowerment, along with their facilitators and barriers. Through the examination of case studies involving interpersonal and organizational networks in both Japan and the US, this talk illustrates how examining relationships and network structures can enhance our understanding of empowerment at multiple scales.
Dr Yohei Kato is a Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities. He is trained in the fields of community development and urban studies. His research interests include empowerment, mixed-methods research, social network analysis, and the relationships between built and natural environments, well-being, and children and young people’s participation. Prior to his academic career, he worked on monitoring and evaluating development projects in India and led community design and youth participatory action research projects in Bangladesh, Japan, and the US.
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