Photo of Naomi Hossain, IDS Research Fellow

Naomi Hossain - Research Fellow

Power and Popular Politics; Health and Nutrition
T: +44 (0)1273 915687


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Naomi Hossain researches, teaches about, and advises on, the politics of inclusive development. A political sociologist and Senior [NH1] Research Fellow in the Power and Popular Politics Cluster, she has published extensively on Bangladesh, and retains a passion for understanding that country’s unexpected development success. She has also led several major comparative multi-country studies addressing critical questions about inequality, precarity, and power in early 21st century development. Past work has explored elite perceptions of poverty and inequality, the social and political effects of globalized economic and food crises, and the governance and politics of pro-poor public service delivery, with a focus on food security, basic education, social protection, and women’s empowerment. Newer projects focus on food and fuel riots, the politics of social protection, and the implications of closing civic space for development, including for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.


Naomi has worked with scholars, activists, and development practitioners based in 20 countries in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America, and been consulted or commissioned by numerous governments, multilateral agencies, and NGOs for over 20 years. She started her career at the Research and Evaluation Division at BRAC in Bangladesh, where she set up the flagship State of Governance in Bangladesh report in 2006. Based at IDS since 2008, she is currently working remotely from Washington DC. Her research has been widely covered in the international media, and she contributes to the Guardian and the Dhaka Tribune, and tweets @nomhossain. You can read a selection of her scholarly work, blogs and essays at


Naomi Hossain is currently accepting doctoral applications in the areas of the contentious politics of hunger and food security, and the political economy of inclusive development.

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) is a five-year, DFID-funded, research programme consortium which aims to produce new evidence and policy insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa and their differential outcomes for local people and economies.

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This project aims to make sense of the development impacts of the closing of civil society space.

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The most immediate and prominent effect of shrinking civic space is its association with declining respect for human rights, in particular civil and political rights such as freedom of expression and association and protection of human rights defenders and minority group rights.

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A participatory action-learning and knowledge sharing programme to improve WFPs gender-mainstreaming practices.

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The next World Social Science Report due to be published in 2016 will focus on the critical contemporary issues of inequalities and justice.

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Researching the impacts of, and responses to, volatile food prices in poor communities in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Vietnam and Zambia.

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The objective of this research is to improve the prospects for accountability for food security at a time of volatility. This will be achieved through an exploration of the proposition that recent popular mobilisation around food has activated public accountability for hunger.

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How have people and communities experienced recent global economic shocks? In early 2009, the Social Impacts of Crisis project started work in 12 community 'listening posts' in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Yemen and Zambia to answer this question.

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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.

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Economic shocks in the form of record rises in food and fuel prices followed by financial crisis and recession have driven home the significance of global economic interdependence for people around the world. These economic crises have confirmed a sense of global connectedness at a time of high concern about the impacts of climate change, epidemics, and conflict.

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IDS publications on international development research

Ethical and Methodological Challenges in Large Qualitative Participatory Studies

Participatory research studies utilizing qualitative data drawn from large, diverse samples appear increasingly common in the social sciences, particularly in international development. More details


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


Energy Protests in Fragile Settings: The Unruly Politics of Provisions in Egypt, Myanmar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe, 2007–2017

IDS Working Paper 513 (2018)

How do popular protests about the basics of everyday life, specifically about energy, come about in settings where political authority is fragmented and conflict and repression common? How do state and political actors respond to protests which disrupt social and economic life, and undermine public authority? To what extent do such mass protests, often justified as inherently moral struggles over the basics of everyday life, empower the powerless or hold the powerful to account in such political settings? And how do external actors shape these events? More details

IDS publications on international development research

Post-Conflict Ruptures and the Political Space for Women’s Empowerment in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is widely deemed to have made rapid progress on gender equality and women's empowerment. How to understand the apparent advances of women in a poor, populous, Muslim-majority country in the belt of classic patriarchy? More details

This is the front cover to IDS Working Paper 498, '‘You Cannot Live Without Money’: Balancing Women’s Unpaid Care Work and Paid Work in Rwanda'.

‘You Cannot Live Without Money’: Balancing Women’s Unpaid Care Work and Paid Work in Rwanda

IDS Working Paper 498 (2017)

This paper summarises the findings of mixed-methods research that was carried out in Rwanda as part of the ‘Balancing Unpaid Care Work and Paid Work: Successes, Challenges and Lessons for Women’s Economic Empowerment Programmes and Policies’ research project (2015–17). More details