Photo of Patta Scott-Villiers

Patta Scott-Villiers - Research Fellow

T: +44 (0)1273 915616


Nadine Beard

Thematic Expertise:
Conflict and fragility; Conflict Violence and Development; Gender Justice; Participatory methodologies; Politics and Power; Participation Power and Politics; Unruly Politics.

Geographic Expertise:
Sub Saharan Africa; Ethiopia; Kenya; Somalia; Sudan; Uganda.

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:

  1. international debates about global inequalities and insecurities;
  2. debates among people on the margins that strengthen their understanding of their situation and its possibilities; and
  3. 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!

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.

More details

Making All Voices Count: A Grand Challenge for Development (MAVC) is a four-year $45 million fund to support innovation, scaling-up, and research that will deepen existing innovations and help harness new technologies to enable citizen engagement and government responsiveness.

More details

This collaboration between IDS and the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) aims to bring appropriate participatory methods into quality assurance within SDC. It will also bring new levels of rigour to the principles of participation, poverty orientation and empowerment in the work of SDC and its partners.

More details

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

Four years on from Irish Aid's landmark Hunger Task Force Report, hunger reduction remains an enormous challenge. This will become more difficult in the context of resource scarcity, climate change, and an increased demand for food in the emerging economies.

More details

A new partnership between the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and IDS has been formed with the aim of supporting SDC’s ‘Democratisation, Decentralisation and Local Governance Network’ (DLGN) between 2012 and 2014. IDS’ contribution will seek to improve DLGN’s effectiveness and impact of policy strategies and operations.

More details

< previous 1 2 next >
Boy stand by a burning car in the 2008 Mozambique riots.

Them Belly Full (But We Hungry): Food Rights Struggles in Bangladesh, India, Kenya

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

IDS publications on international development research

"The Constitution Lies To Us": Securing Accountability for the Right to Food in Kenya

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

ER71 Front Cover

Roots and Routes of Political Violence in Kenya’s Civil and Political Society: A Case Study of Marsabit County

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

IDS publications on international development research

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

IDS publications on international development research

The Long Conversation: Customary Approaches to Peace Management in Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia

This working paper is a contribution to understandings of peace-building among pastoralists. From a pastoralist perspective, it throws light on the achievement of peace in a five-year effort led by leaders of the Borana and Gabra peoples of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. More details

IDS Working Paper

Raising Voice: Securing a Livelihood: The Role of Diverse Voices in Developing Secure Livelihoods in Pastoralist Areas in Ethiopia

This paper is concerned with the workings of voice among pastoralists in Ethiopia. It documents how diverse pastoralist men and women - young and old, rich and poor - call on one another and on representatives and officials in efforts to achieve cooperation and influence. More details

IDS Research Summary

Raising Voice: Securing a Livelihood: The Role of Diverse Voices in Developing Secure Livelihoods in Pastoralist Areas in Ethiopia

‘Because of our poverty we are not able to speak. If you have property you have power. If you have power you can talk or voice for yourself. The ones with power talk to each other.’ (elderly Ethiopian pastoralist woman). What are the implications for development practice? More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Puff Adder, the Fire, the Spear, the Peace

Reporting from the Peace Gathering that took place in Maikona, Chalbi District in Kenya in July 2009, this publication documents the discussions held between the Borana and Gabra communities from Ethiopia and Kenya around peace, and how to maintain it. More details

Non-IDS publication

Raising Voice - Securing a Livelihood: Summary Paper

This full-colour summary paper of the recent study into pastoralist livelihoods in Ethiopia discusses the role of diverse voices in developing secure livelihoods in pastoralist areas of Ethiopia. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Participatory Learning Groups in an Aid Bureaucracy

Organisational learning, in which leaders and managers give priority to learning as integral to practice, is increasingly recognized as critical to improved performance. ActionAid, DFID and Sida collaborated with the Participation Group at the Institute of Development Studies to explore understandings of learning and to document innovative approaches. More details

< previous 1 2 next >

Find an IDS expert

Use our online directory to find an expert on research or by team.

Find a person