Power and Popular Politics

Using a power lens on all our work, we examine popular forms of contestation in particular of non-elites.

We seek to pioneer new ways of working with community, activist, academic and professional co-researchers from both the global North and South, using qualitative, ethnographic and action research.

The Power and Popular Politics Cluster focuses on:

  • Critically engaging with voice, accountability and citizenship in conventional and newer spaces, including the interface between the online/offline
  • Exploring through a post-civil society lens organised and non-organised, violent and peaceful social and political action and unruliness
  • Redressing intersecting inequalities with groups rendered invisible by systems of governmentality
  • Investigating the mechanisms of social change arising from global crises and local responses seen through a moral economy lens.


Image of Mariz Tadros
Mariz Tadros

Research Fellow

Image of Patta Scott-Villiers
Patta Scott-Villiers

Research Fellow

Image of Alex Shankland
Alex Shankland

Research Fellow

Image of Alison Ashlin
Alison Ashlin

Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL) Specialist

Image of Aly Khalil
Aly Khalil

PhD Research Student

Image of Carlos Fortin
Carlos Fortin

Research Associate

Image of Cathérine Müller
Cathérine Müller

Research Fellow

Image of Colin Anderson
Colin Anderson

Research Officer

Image of Dina Zayed
Dina Zayed

PhD Researcher

Image of Egidio Chaimite
Egidio Chaimite

PhD Researcher

Image of Emilie Wilson
Emilie Wilson

Communications Officer

Image of Fiona Wilson
Fiona Wilson

Emeritus Fellow

Image of Giulia Mascagni
Giulia Mascagni

Research Fellow

Image of Hani Morsi
Hani Morsi

Dphil Student

Image of Hayley MacGregor
Hayley MacGregor

Research Fellow

Image of John Gaventa
John Gaventa

Director of Research

Katy Hutchison

Assistant Project Accountant

Image of Katy Oswald
Katy Oswald

Research Officer

Image of Marcio Pessôa
Marcio Pessôa

PhD Student

Image of Marjoke Oosterom
Marjoke Oosterom

Research Fellow

Image of Nadine Beard
Nadine Beard

Senior Project Support Officer

Image of Naomi Hossain
Naomi Hossain

Research Fellow

Image of Rosalind Eyben
Rosalind Eyben

Emeritus Fellow

Image of Rosemary McGee
Rosemary McGee

Research Fellow

Image of Shilpa Deshpande
Shilpa Deshpande

PhD Student

Image of Terry Cannon
Terry Cannon

Research Fellow

Martin Gardner

Project Support Officer



Measuring the Impact of Closing Civic Space on Development

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.


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...

Recent work


Can transparency make extractive industries more accountable?

Over the last two decades great strides have been made in terms of holding extractive industries accountable.  As demonstrated at the Global Assembly of Publish What You Pay (PWYP), which I attended recently in Dakar, Senegal, more information than ever about revenue flows to governments from...

8 February 2019

Working Paper

Sound of One Hand Clapping: Information Disclosure for Social and Political Action for Accountability in Extractive Governance in Mozambique

IDS Working Paper 523

Corruption through opaque public contracts costs Africa billions of dollars in revenue loss annually. Globally, initiatives to address this have centred on information disclosure (ID) but under what conditions does it work to promote accountability in the extractive sector that for a long time...

28 January 2019