Community Power
Community Power
Paul W. Speer on relationships, conversations and mediating institutions
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In this episode, Michael talks to Paul W. Speer, a Professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Peabody College in Vanderbilt University. Paul shares his insights through a series of anecdotes. To learn more about Paul’s work, consider the following:

  • Paul is worried about our ability to form relationships; he explains why in this 2018 article describing three interrelated trends threatening developing social relationships
  • Although he does not mention it in the episode, Paul is clear-eyed about what kind of change matters. He calls it ‘restructuring’, which is described in this 1988 article by Edward Seidman, a Professor of Applied Psychology at NYU
  • Paul and colleagues have studied ISAIAH, a multi-racial, nonpartisan coalition of faith communities fighting for racial and economic justice in Minnesota. It’s considered to be at the leading edge of how community power can pursue equity. See Paul’s study here

The epilogue between Michael and Pritpal reflects their views, not necessarily Paul’s.

Subscribe to Ratio’s Newsletter here and find out more about Pritpal S Tamber’s work here.

Get in touch with us any time by sending an email to [email protected].

Ratio Talks is produced with the help of sound designer Nik Paget-Tomlinson and creative director Richard De Angelis. The show’s theme song is by Luca Picardi. 


In this series, Michael is exploring community power — what it is, how it’s linked to better outcomes, such as health, and what its limitations are. The series is in collaboration with Pritpal S Tamber, a researcher and consultant on the link between community power and health, and a Non-Executive Director of Ratio.