Patta Scott-Villiers - Research Fellow
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Patta is Co-Leader of the Power and Popular Politics Cluster.
I research political marginalization, asking how people on the margins explain it and resist or embrace it. People's reaction to political marginalization has major implications not only locally, but also nationally and internationally and my research tries to make these implications clear.
At present, I am focusing on young people and their actions, drawing on many years of work in East Africa's borderlands and latterly in the slums of its large cities. Most important for me is to bring my research back to the people who have contributed to it. Rather than just extracting information, I bring analysis and research results back to people, stimulating conversations about what it means and what can be done. Linked to this, I'm also pursuing a line of inquiry into how people debate public issues. I study the powers and limitations of popular politics – street talk and protest – and the role that research can play in supporting it.
At present I am trying to understand the political margins from three angles:
- Exploring the causes and effects of poor quality education on young people's lives, and its links to growing economic inequality and unraveling insecurity in the East African Region.
- Explaining a contemporary politics of provision, looking at people's and authorities' reactions to a sharply rising cost of living in city slums and distant rural areas. I'm learning why people protest and why they don't and I'm making connections with right to food movements to understand their part
- Understanding how political violence preys on young people, discussing why people join in and how it works. I'm exploring its links to wider political economic processes as well as the efforts people make locally to resist it
My perspective is from the ground up. I want to learn how people on the margins explain the mechanisms of marginalization and how they are acting in response. Adding analyses of the national and international political and economic processes that underpin these local situations, I feed research into three zones:
- international debates about global inequalities and insecurities;
- debates among people on the margins that strengthen their understanding of their situation and its possibilities; and
- debates between young people on the margins and those in government, civil society and the private sector who want to find new ways of narrowing the gaps.
PhD student supervision
- Maria Cascante who is asking what an international NGO campaign in Nigeria might learn from thinking like a social movement
- Violeta Vajda, who is inquiring into identity and racism in Romania
- Marcio Pessoa, who is studying defiant civil society in Mozambique
If you are interested in collaborating, please contact me!
Food Riots and Food Rights: the Moral and Political Economy of Accountability for Hunger in KenyaIDS Working Paper 461 (2015)
The green revolution and the global integration of food markets were supposed to relegate scarcity to the annals of history. So why did thousands of people in dozens of countries take to the streets when world food prices spiked in 2008 and 2011? More details
"The Constitution Lies To Us": Securing Accountability for the Right to Food in KenyaFood Riots and Food Rights project report (2014)
Factors rooted in Kenya’s history and political economy have dampened citizen expectations of the state, thwarted popular mobilisation and generated weak state responses. This raises a question of responsibility. In this paper, we explore the failure and efforts to overcome them, before considering how accountability for hunger can be made the norm. More details
Them Belly Full (But We Hungry): Food Rights Struggles in Bangladesh, India, KenyaFood Riots and Food Rights project report (2014)
The green revolution and the global integration of food markets were supposed to relegate scarcity to the annals of history. So why did thousands of people in dozens of countries take to the streets when world food prices spiked in 2008 and 2011? Are food riots the surest route to securing the right to food in the 21st century? More details
Roots and Routes of Political Violence in Kenya’s Civil and Political Society: A Case Study of Marsabit CountyIDS Evidence Report 71 (2014)
Struggles to influence the balance of power and the distribution of economic resources in Kenya have a long history of violence: national and local, actual and threatened, physical and psychological. More details
Ekoi and Etem in Karamoja - A Study of Decision-making in a Post-conflict Society
This book presents the findings of a group of young Karimojong who set out to explore land, peace and customary law in the Karamoja sub-region in Uganda. More details