IDS Development Bibliography;19

Concepts of Citizenship: A Review

Published on 1 February 2004

Very little is known about the realities of how different people understand themselves as citizens, and the ways in which this impacts on the different dimensions of their lives. Similarly, little is known about how rights languages are actually used in situated struggles, by different individuals and groups, and to what effect.

The ‘Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability’ aims to bring the voices of citizens in different contexts to the often abstract debates around citizenship. It hopes to contribute to the understanding of citizenship: the realities, challenges and opportunities it poses for different people, and to utilise citizens? knowledges to point to strategies for change.

The review essay in this Development Bibliography provides a broad map to contemporary thinking around citizenship, in order to provide a theoretical frame of reference for empirical work on the contextual relations between citizenship, participation and accountability. The attached section of annotated references provides brief summaries of recent texts that we have found to be particularly helpful. Other papers in this series explore participation, accountability and inclusion as they relate to citizenship, and thus both complement and give greater depth to the summaries provided in this Development Bibliography.

Cite this publication

Jones, E. and Gaventa, J. (2004) Concepts of citizenship: a review. IDS Development Bibliography 19, Brighton: IDS.


John Gaventa

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

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies
Jones, E. and Gaventa, J.
IDS Development Bibliography, issue 19
1 85864 400 3


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