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John Gaventa

Research Fellow and Director, Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) programme

Professor John Gaventa is a political sociologist, educator and civil society practitioner with over 40 years of experience in research, teaching and organisational leadership in North and South.

Professor Gaventa is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies and Director of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) research programme. He previously served as Director of Research at IDS (2015-2019), and as Director of the Coady International Institute and Vice President of International Development at StFX University in Canada (2011-2014). Prior to that, he was a Fellow in the Power, Participation and Social Change team at IDS, and Director of the Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability, based at IDS.

Linking research and practice, he has written and/ or edited a dozen books and over sixty articles, book chapters and research reports related to issues of citizenship and citizen engagement, power and participation, governance and accountability, inequality and social change in a number of countries around the world. His most recent books include Citizen-Led Innovation for a New Economy (co-editor with Alison Mathie), Globalizing Citizens (co-editor with Rajesh Tandon) and Citizen Action and National Policy Reform (co-editor with Rosemary McGee).

A former Rhodes Scholar and MacArthur Prize Fellow, in 2011 he also received the Tisch Civic Engagement Research Prize for his distinguished scholarship on civic learning, citizen participation and engaged research. In 2012, he was awarded an OBE for his service to Oxfam Great Britain, where he was chair from 2006 – 2011. He holds a DPhil degree from Oxford University.

John supervises the PhD student JoonYeol Lee, alongside Jodie Thorpe and Marjoke Oosterom.

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John Gaventa is on Twitter @JohnGaventa

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Pakistan Hub

The Pakistan Hub provides focus in a country at the leading edge of development thinking and practice and is centered on a long-term partnership between IDS and the highly regarded Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). It recognises that...


Navigating Civic Space in a Time of Covid-19

The Navigating Civic Space in a Time of Covid project examined patterns of changing civic space and civic action in Mozambique, Nigeria and Pakistan during the first nine months of the Covid-19 pandemic. How did the pandemic affect already shrinking civic space, particularly for activists and...



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



Navigating Civic Space in a Time of Covid: Synthesis Report

Since long before the Covid-19 pandemic emerged in 2020, civic space has been changing all over the globe, generally becoming more restricted and hazardous. The pandemic brought the suspension of many fundamental freedoms in the name of the public good, providing cover for a deepening...

Image of Colin Anderson
Colin Anderson & 10 others

18 May 2021

John Gaventa’s recent work


What have we learned from the powercube?

Over ten years ago John Gaventa and the Power, Participation and Social Change team at IDS, developed the power cube. We want to hear from people who have used the tool to understand what can we can learn from it.

18 December 2017