Building Inclusive, Secure Societies

Building more inclusive and secure societies acknowledges the appalling dangers and lasting harms to people's lives and livelihoods from everyday conflict and violence, but also from risks associated with the environment, health and the economy.

Small boy looking out to wide open sea, waiting for his father to return from fishing

Inclusive institutions key to long-term resilience

Being and feeling unsafe and insecure is devastating to individuals, families, communities and societies. Our work contributes to a greater understanding of how we can build resilience and protect people against threats from conflict as well as environmental, economic, political and social shocks. Preventing a shock from magnifying in to a crisis also requires inclusive institutions and an understanding of how we can enable citizens to feel that they have a stake in the way their communities are governed.

Greater peace, freedom and safety for people everywhere

IDS’ work seeks to understand the factors that underlie and reinforce insecurity – a lack of inclusion and citizenship, unequal power relations and problematic forms of securitisation. This work explores what institutions, communities, policy and practice can do to achieve peace, freedom and safety for everyone, everywhere.

Patricia Justino, IDS Research Fellow and Leader of the IDS Conflict and Violence Cluster:

 “With almost one third of the world’s population living in low-income conflict-affected countries, it is critical that we understand the effects of conflict on people’s welfare, behaviour and poverty.” 

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Aiding Resilience? The Impact of Foreign Assistance on the Dynamics of Intrastate Armed Conflict

The aim of this project is to evaluate the association between types, locations, timing, and amounts of development aid and the likelihood, escalation, severity, spread, duration, and recurrence of violence, spanning the phases before, during, and after conflict. More details

‘Seeing’ Conflicts at the Margins: Understanding Community Experiences Through Social Research and Digital Narrative in Kenya and Madagascar

In a context of unprecedented investment in natural resource developments, this project bridges the social sciences, the humanities and community-based participatory research to ask how different ‘communities’ of actors ‘see’ and experience resource conflicts in Kenya and Madagascar. We use social science alongside a variety of participatory multimedia methods to open up conflict research to more diverse framings and voices, which can offer new insights on the drivers of resource conflict and pathways to peace. More details

A Mobile Training Platform for Urban Policing in India and Nepal

The aim of this project is to develop training videos for urban police that can be accessed via mobiles. This kind of platform allows the videos to be centrally updated, accessed (or ‘pushed’) on demand, and also allow for an innovative addition to police performance monitoring. More details

Advisor for the World Development Report 2017

Prof. Patricia Justino is working on the World Development Report 2017 as an advisor to the lead author of the chapter on "Security, Conflict and the Absence of Violence", as well as producing a background paper for the WDR chapter. More details

Agency and Governance in Contexts of Civil Conflict

Analysing how the relationship between populations living in contexts of violence and armed non-state actors controlling or contesting those areas results in forms of local governance and order, and how this affects people's livelihoods. More details

Capacity Building for Smart Data and Inclusive Cities (SDIC)

The “Capacity Building for Smart Data and Inclusive Cities” (SDIC) project aims strengthen technical and institutional capacities by working directly with municipal authorities participating in the Smart Cities Mission in four secondary cities in India: Bhopal and Jabalpur (in Madhya Pradesh) and Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi (in Kerala). More details

Community Cooperation in Post-Conflict Bosnia

This project will investigate what determines the level of community cooperation in the post-conflict period. More details

Coptic Culture Conservation Collective

The Coptic Culture Conservation Collective initiative will create a narrative and visual archive of contemporary Coptic intangible cultural heritage. More details

Democratisation, Decentralisation, Local Governance: IDS-SDC Collaboration

The aim of this third phase of cooperation between IDS and SDC is to share learning and collaborate on policy engagement in priority areas of decentralised and democratic local governance. More details

Improving access to livelihoods, jobs and basic services in violent contexts

Expanding access to work and services, such as public utilities and safe and reliable transportation, are important elements of any approach to strengthen security in poor urban neighbourhoods. More details

Market-Based Mangrove Afforestation and Reforestation in Kenya and India

This study aims to understand and compare processes and relationships associated with the ‘marketization of nature’ – how nature-based commodities and markets for trading them are brought into being – in the context of mangrove afforestation, reforestation and restoration projects in Kenya and India. More details

Meanings and Expressions of Empowerment and Accountability (part of the A4EA programme)

This research theme, under the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) Research Programme, is concerned with the meanings of empowerment and accountability from the point of view of the people’s experiences and perceptions, and this in turn means for collective action. More details

Pathways to Accountability Bargains (part of the A4EA research programme)

This research theme, under the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) Research Programme, is concerned with the following question: how can stable and inclusive political settlements (among elites) and a just social contract (between elites and different social groups) emerge that are based on accountable and responsive institutions? More details

Pathways to Inclusive Development through Innovation, Technology and Change

Pathways to Inclusive Development through Innovation, Technology and Change is developing a framework to analyse alternative pathways that link different forms of technological innovation, and evaluate resulting structural change and inclusion outcomes in low-income countries. More details

Power, Violence, Citizenship and Agency

The Power, Violence, Citizenship and Agency (PVCA) project is an action research project designed by researchers at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and carried out with a number of institutional partners. More details

The Role of External Actors (part of the A4EA research programme)

This theme supports the programme in addressing: What are the best ways for external actors, such as donors, NGO’s etc., to support internally led social and political actions or to create enabling conditions that contribute to empowerment and accountability?’ More details

Women in Local Peacebuilding Research

Documenting the role of women in local peacebuilding, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Liberia. More details

View all Research Theme's publications

Use this search to display this theme's publications and filter by journal, author, country and much more.


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Does Land Titling Matter? The Role of Land Property Rights in Colombia’s War on Drugs

IDS Policy Briefing 156 (2018)

The ‘war on drugs’ has failed. Despite an increase in law enforcement, production levels of coca – the crop used to make cocaine – have hardly altered in the last decade. More details

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Jobs for Ex-Militants in the Niger Delta – Why Isn’t the Private Sector Involved?

IDS Policy Briefing 155 (2018)

At the end of violent conflict, the most difficult task for most countries is the reintegration of former combatants into civilian life and employment. Failure to do this can leave the door open for further protests and social disorder. More details

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What Does Closing Civic Space Mean for Development? A Literature Review and Proposed Conceptual Framework

IDS Working Paper 515 (2018)

What does closing civic space mean for development? Aid donors are concerned about the implications of restrictions on civil society for their partners and programmes, but to date there has been little clarity about what this means for development. More details

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Representation and Inclusion in School Councils in Mozambique

IDS Research Report 84 (2018)

This study was conducted as part of the Citizen Engagement Programme (Programa Cidadania e Participação (CEP)) in Mozambique – an empowerment and social accountability initiative to improve the quality of education and health services by increasing citizens’ influence on the management of schools and health units, the formulation of education and health policies, and the provision of education and health services. More details

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Inclusive Urban Development in South Africa: What Does It Mean and How Can It Be Measured?

IDS Working Paper 512 (2018)

Inclusive development is the seductive idea that a more dynamic and productive economy can go hand in hand with reduced inequality and exclusion. This requires crafting together different values and realities, through cooperation and negotiation between different economic and social interests. This is particularly difficult in South Africa because of the deep-seated social divisions and stagnant economy. More details

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Wellbeing and Protracted Urban Displacement: Refugees and Hosts in Jordan and Lebanon

The war in Syria, now in its eighth year, has led to the mass exodus of the Syrian people. Lebanon and Jordan have achieved a remarkable feat by hosting millions of refugees, with many having located to urban areas, where the great majority of local populations are already situated. More details

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Improving the Wellbeing of Syrian Refugees in Urban Jordan

IDS Policy Briefing 152 (2018)

While 20 per cent of Syrian refugees in Jordan reside in camps, the majority live elsewhere including in urban areas. Syrian refugees are experiencing high levels of insecurity, often due to challenges with legal status documentation. More details

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Urban Refugees in Lebanon: Housing, Residency, and Wellbeing

IDS Policy Briefing 151 (2018)

Lebanon hosts over a million Syrian refugees in addition to other displaced groups. These refugees have gravitated to urban centres, putting significant pressure on local infrastructure and services. More details

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Youth Engagement in the Realm of Local Governance: Opportunities for Peace?

IDS Working Paper 508 (2018)

An interest in young people has gained significant traction in both policy and academic circles over the past ten years, partly informed by the correlations between ‘youth bulges’ and large numbers of unemployed youth and a country’s instability. More details

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Inclusive Structural Change: Case Studies on Innovations in Breeding Practices in Kenya and Anti-Retroviral Therapy Service Provision in Mozambique

IDS Working Paper 505 (2018)

Innovation, accompanied by structural change, is at the heart of economic growth and development. Yet there is limited evidence to understand interactions between innovation, structural change and inclusion in the context of low-income and emerging countries, or how these processes best support sustainable and inclusive societies. More details

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Navigating Power and Intersectionality to Address Inequality

IDS Working Paper 504 (2017)

This paper examines the drivers of inequality and social exclusion, especially discrimination, with a focus on how they intersect at the levels of family, community and local government institutions. The paper reviews current literature and emerging research, drawing on empirical work being carried out by the authors in Central and Eastern Europe, the UK and Africa. More details

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Biocultural Approaches: Opportunities for Building More Inclusive Environmental Governance

IDS Working Paper 502 (2017)

A significant portion of the world’s remaining biodiversity and agrobiodiversity is in the hands of local and indigenous communities who tend to be politically marginalised and thus excluded from formal environmental governance schemes. More details

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How Can Mining in Côte d’Ivoire Better Serve Local Communities Without Exacerbating Conflict?

IDS Policy Briefing (2017)

Côte d’Ivoire is currently experiencing a mining boom. The country’s growing mining sector is quickly becoming an important source of national income, and could help to finance part of the government’s development agenda in the coming years. Côte d’Ivoire, however, still faces political and security challenges, such as the mutinies that occurred in 2017. More details

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Comment l’exploitation minière en Côte d’Ivoire peut-elle mieux bénéficier aux communautés locales sans exacerber les conflits?

IDS Policy Briefing (2017)

La Côte d’Ivoire connaît actuellement un boom minier. La contribution du secteur minier àl’économie du pays est amenée à croître rapidement. Ainsi, le secteur minier pourrait permettre de financer une partie des projets de développement du gouvernement au cours des années à venir. More details

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Theories of Change for Promoting Empowerment and Accountability in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings

IDS Working Paper 499 (2017)

This paper explores the current state of thinking among a range of aid actors (multilaterals, bilateral, applied scholars and international non-governmental organisations) on how to promote empowerment and accountability in fragile, conflict and violence affected settings. More details

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Public–Private Cooperation for Secure and Inclusive Rural Economies

IDS Policy Briefing 146 (2017)

How do public–private collaborations enable secure and inclusive rural economies? Alongside private sector investment, government provision of infrastructure, research and extension services and support for farmer organisations remains crucial. More details

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The Impact of Social Media and Digital Technology on Electoral Violence in Kenya

IDS Working Paper 493 (2017)

Electoral violence has become synonymous with Kenya’s elections. This acquired deadly proportions during the 2007 elections. However, it was also during this time that social media and digital technology was first used for political reasons including campaigning and polling. Social media and digital technology had mixed uses where it was not only used to propagate hate speech and mobilise for violence, but also to identify and map out violence hotspots. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Policy Briefing 144, 'Using Digital and Social Media
to Monitor and Reduce Violence in Kenya’s Elections'.

Using Digital and Social Media to Monitor and Reduce Violence in Kenya’s Elections

IDS Policy Briefing 144 (2017)

Social media and digital technology offer immense potential for citizens, policymakers and practitioners to raise awareness of, monitor, and respond to violence. With Kenya’s elections approaching, technology can help to raise awareness of insecurity, support early warning, combat incitement of violence and promote accountability. More details

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Shame, Poverty and Social Protection

IDS Working Paper 489 (2017)

Despite long-standing conceptual considerations of shame in understanding poverty and debates about its moral, social and emotional qualities, the role of shame in poverty reduction policies remains largely unexplored. More details

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How Do State–Business Relations Shape Sustainable Development?

IDS Policy Briefing 141 (2017)

The achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals will depend on the ways in which states and businesses engage with one another. While state–business interactions can take many forms, they inherently involve processes of negotiation through which actors in both camps pursue their own interests. More details

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