The Khutsong housing project and power relationships: an application of Lukes’ three dimensions of power
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This article critically examines power relationships amongst actors in a local housing development project in the Khutsong township in South Africa. For this purpose, actors’ interpretations and actions of their project praxis are linked critically to Stephen Lukes’ dimensions of power. These are the first-dimensional decision-making and policymaking power, the second-dimensional attempts to control agendas and the third-dimensional capacity to frame public issues in a way that influences people’s perceptions of their interests. Lukes upholds a normative position toward power. It is important for him to identify those who dominate for their own interest. The Khutsong housing project is an interesting case study to apply Lukes’ theory. In this project powerholders attempted to implement their interpretations of reality as dominant. But the study demonstrates that there were several definitions and rationalities competing for dominance. The first dimension of power established a major outcome—the extensive housing project. On the second and third dimensions, space was identified for role players to also insert their interpretations into the project. This demonstrates that in this project domination was more complex than a straightforward relationship among power, agency and responsibility. Different parties affected agendas and the perceptions of interests
- Faculty of Health Sciences 
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