Governing the Ungovernable: Understanding the Space-violence Relationship through an Integration of Municipal Functioning

This research project builds on foundational work already carried out by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and the Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative (NPI). The project focuses on understanding the nature of control municipalities are able to leverage over security providers and other stakeholder, which has remained a relative blind spot in research on governance of urban security.

The project asks how real this control is; what everyday bargains enable or disable urban security regimes; and importantly, how practices of governing urban security contribute to broader urban transformation over time. Fieldwork has been staggered in different stages, starting with the city of Janakpur in Nepal at the onset of the proposed project, in May 2019, for a period of two months. Methods developed in this phase are then being modified (specifically to fit the needs of the Covid-19 pandemic), retested and used for a second stage of data collection in the city in June-August 2021. This stage of fieldwork will focus on spatial analyses of the city and the role of key stakeholders in governance of security such as cultural authorities, municipalities and residents of the city. The data will serve as foundation for policy inquiry and City-to-City engagement in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in a curated dialogue. The outcome of the Dialogue will be published as a policy briefing by the partners IDS, the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) and NPI, while research findings will be distilled as peer-reviewed articles, and op-eds in local media.

Project details

start date
30 May 2019
end date
31 August 2021


Supported by
Gerda Henkel Stiftung

About this project


Image of Jaideep Gupte

Jaideep Gupte

Research Fellow

Image of Mireille Widmer

Mireille Widmer

Postgraduate Researcher

Image of Rosa Lewis-Anthony

Rosa Lewis-Anthony

Project Support Officer

Image of Syeda Jenifa Zahan

Syeda Jenifa Zahan

Postdoctoral Researcher