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 focused on issues such as defining the mutual rights and obligations of state and society, negotiating how public resources should be allocated and establishing different modes of representation and accountability’ (DFID, 2010, p. 15).

About this topic guide supplement

Statebuilding and peacebuilding, while conceptually distinct, are becoming more closely integrated in academic and policy circles. This publication is one of two topic guide supplements that explore this development:

  • Statebuilding and Peacebuilding in Situations of Conflict and Fragility looks at the links (and tensions) between statebuilding and peacebuilding, how these activities interact, and how they can be approached in practice.
  • State-Society Relations and Citizenship in Situations of Conflict and Fragility looks at concepts of state-society relations, civic trust, citizenship and socio-political cohesion in relation to statebuilding and peacebuilding.

These publications, first written by Huma Haider in 2010, highlight key issues and debates for each topic covered and identify relevant references. They are to be read in conjunction with the GSDRC’s Conflict and Fragile States Topic Guides, in particular the Peacebuilding and Statebuilding chapters. Links to relevant sections from these and other chapters of the guides are highlighted throughout.

The GSDRC appreciates the contributions of Alina Rocha Menochal (Overseas Development Institute); Alex Stevens (DFID) and Anna Miles (DFID).

Suggested citation

Haider, H. with C. Mcloughlin (2016). State-society relations and citizenship: Topic guide supplement. Birmingham, UK: GSDRC, University of Birmingham