The Power of Relations

June 13, 2011

The Power of Relations: Urban Transformation in Bogota, Colombia

by Ashley Mackey


Over the last twenty years, the city of Bogotá, Colombia has undergone a massive urban transformation. This has occurred politically, physically and in the minds of the citizens. The instigation of highly successful public transport networks and political reform into an arguably more transparent form of governance have changed the way that Bogotá’s residents use and think about their city. It has afforded them opportunities previously thought impossible and unattainable in a city as poor as Bogotá.

This essay looks at the changes in Bogotá through the lens of power relations, as defined by Foucault, who asserts that power can only exist in a relationship, it is not a thing that could be owned and applied by a person, group, the State or an institution.

The sheer complexity of power relations that exist wherever people do starts to become apparent not only when analysing urban and political change but in the more mundane, everyday interactions between individuals.


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