IDS Evidence Report 73

Agency and Citizenship in a Context of Gender-based Violence

Published on 1 April 2014

This pilot evaluation explores how citizenship and agency among social activists can be fostered in contexts of urban violence at the local level.

Many initiatives and approaches to addressing violence, particularly urban violence, tend to focus on security sector reform and policing, infrastructure and livelihoods. The role of citizens living in slums, informal settlements and housing estates in acting to stop violence and promoting peaceful relations is less understood and supported. In the urban context, violence is often a means of getting access to scarce resources (such as employment), political power, as well as enforcing discriminatory social norms such as those surrounding gender, age, race, religion and ethnicity.

The focus of this pilot is to understand how a sense of democratic citizenship and the ability to act on that citizenship at the local level can contribute to reducing different types of urban violence and promote security, and how becoming an activist against violence can contribute to constructing a sense of citizenship. The case study for this analysis is based in the informal settlement of Khayelitsha, Cape Town, and focuses on community activism against gender-based violence.

Download the accompanying brief

ERB73 Agency and Citizenship in a Context of Gender-based Violence

This work was produced under the Addressing and Mitigating Violence programme.

Cite this publication

Shahrokh, T. and Wheeler, J. (2014) Agency and Citizenship in a Context of Gender-based Violence, IDS Evidence Report 73, Brighton: IDS


Thea Shahrokh

Research Officer

Publication details

published by
Shahrokh, T. and Wheeler, J.
IDS Evidence Report, issue 73


About this publication

Programmes and centres
Addressing and mitigating violence
South Africa

Related content

Student Opinion

Support for first-generation learners

Rachna Vyas, IDS student, MA Governance, Development & Public Policy

27 March 2024