State-society relations

Parliamentary transparency and accountability

This report presents and discusses what evidence exists about initiatives to promote transparency among legislators, members of parliament (MPs), and legislative processes and what impact this has had on legislative accountability. In this report we distinguish between two types of accountability: vertical (in which citizens play a direct role in holding the powerful to ...» more

Urban governance

Seoul sunrise panorama

What is urban governance and why does it matter? How can key urban policy issues be addressed? This topic guide introduces the literature on urban governance and its relationship to growth and poverty reduction. It considers the key debates and issues, and sets out some implications for practice on specific urban governance challenges. ...» more

CSOs supporting accountability in cash transfer programmes

Cash transfer programmes, like most social protection programmes, are vulnerable to fraud, errors, corruption and misuse of funds, which undermine their achievements.  Civil society organisations (CSOs) have supported, or provided, accountability mechanisms in countries around the world: working to improve transparency to help citizens hold authorities accountable; checking ...» more

Dominant party systems and development programming

There is a lack of applied thinking or rigorous empirical investigation into how donors and the international community can work with dominant party systems to promote more responsive state-society relations, or other forms of development progress. Frequently cited examples of existing research are not based on recent, systematic comparative research and focus mainly on ...» more

Social movements

Social movements as contentious politics Social movements are large, often informal groupings of people who come together against power holders around a common cause, in response to situations of perceived inequality, oppression and/or unmet social, political, economic or cultural demands. At their core, social movements are not about “polite debate” or “invited spaces” of interaction between…» more

Open data, transparency and accountability

Open data involves the release of data so that anyone can access, use and share it. One of the main objectives of making data open is to promote transparency. For open data and transparency initiatives to lead to accountability, the required conditions include: getting the right data published; enabling actors to find, process and use information, and to act on any outputs; ...» more

Social movements

Social movements express social, cultural, political or economic concerns locally, nationally or transnationally, and they are found in both democratic and repressive states. A variety of actors use social movements to champion a cause and direct, promote or resist change. This topic guide introduces some of the key literature and debates on social movements and collective ...» more

Priority gender issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Despite some progress being made towards achieving gender equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), gender stereotyping and discrimination against women remain widespread. Key findings include: Awareness and implementation of the Law on Gender Equality (LGE) is weak. Gender stereotypes are prevalent in the media. Few women serve as ...» more

When less is more: external assistance and the political settlement in Somaliland

Sarah G Phillips
2016

This article uses a political settlement framework to explore the configuration of power that underpinned the establishment and maintenance of peace in Somaliland. It explores the ways in which the country's isolation fostered mutual dependence between powerful political and economic actors for their survival and prosperity, and challenges underlying assumptions of western ...» more

Liberation technology: Mobile phones and political mobilization in Africa

Marco Manacorda and Andrea Tesei
2016

The recent spread of digital information and communication technology has fed a wave of optimism about its use as a ‘liberation technology’ for the oppressed and disenfranchised worldwide. According to this argument, mobile phones and the Internet have the potential to foster citizens’ political activism and even lead to mass political mobilization, especially when civic forms ...» more

Southern philanthropy, social justice and human rights

Fabiana Leibl and Ine Van Severen
2016

This discussion paper addresses the question of how philanthropists in the global south could better support the activities of civil society organisations (CSOs) to promote human rights and social justice, including actions that focus on advocacy, accountability and mobilisation. The paper is informed by interviews conducted with 12 representatives of philanthropic foundations ...» more

Media and governance

In fast-changing media and communication environments more people are connected than ever before. While most acknowledge that the influence and impact of changing media and communication on governance outcomes is growing, the degree to which new media landscapes are contributing to more informed, peaceful and accountable societies remains in question.  For some, increasingly networked young,…» more

State-society relations and citizenship

State-society relations, citizenship and socio-political cohesion are areas of great importance to statebuilding and peacebuilding and are crucial to an integrated approach. State-society relations are defined by DFID as ‘interactions between state institutions and societal groups to negotiate how public authority is exercised and how it can be influenced by people. They are ...» more

Test it and they might come: Improving the uptake of digital tools in transparency and accountability initiatives

Christopher Wilson and Indra de Lanerolle
2016

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) and data play an increasingly visible role in transparency and accountability initiatives (TAIs). This article investigates TAI tool selection processes in South Africa and Kenya. It argues that in many cases, tools are chosen with only limited testing of their appropriateness for the intended users in the intended contexts, ...» more

Analysis of the Arab Spring

There has been much analysis of the causes and rapid spread of the 2011 Arab Spring (or Arab uprisings). General consensus emerges on a combination of political, economic and social factors as being critical. These can be divided into: a) structural, long-standing, underlying factors that led to a build-up of popular anger and frustration in Arab countries; and b) proximate, ...» more

Citizen voice and action

No democratic government can afford not to listen to the voices of its citizens. Why? It is a matter of common sense; involving people in discussions about how to tackle a problem that affects their lives is much more likely to generate successful ways to address the issue. Further, if opportunities are made to formulate…» more

Infomediaries and accountability

The term “infomediaries” – or information intermediaries – is used to refer to actors who “synthesize, translate, simplify and direct information on behalf of others”. There appears to be strong evidence of the link between free media and better governance and government responsiveness on a range of issues (e.g. public spending on education and health). A DFID review on ...» more