Understanding the issue of scale is one important aspect of making transparency and accountability initiatives more strategic, and therefore fit to address the systematic embeddedness of anti-accountability forces in multiple levels and branches of the state. Scale shapes both the causes of accountability failure and the tactics and strategies needed to address it.
Scale shift describes the way that localised collective actions spread to become social forces with national scope, or to resonate in transnational arenas – often through the pathway of mass collective action. Understanding the issue of scale is one important aspect of making transparency and accountability initiatives more strategic. It shapes both the causes of accountability failure and the tactics and strategies needed to address it. Scale shift also needs brokers who can create multi-level links across the pre-existing social networks that are widely recognised as key for the capacity to mobilise.
This research summary is one section of a longer research paper by Jonathan Fox, which argues that looking at scale from different angles – drawing insights from different ways of using the term – will assist in taking scale into account when developing strategic approaches to transparency and accountability that tackle symptoms rather than causes.
Both the summary and the paper have been co-produced by the Action for Empowerment and Accountability Research Programme – led by the Institute of Development Studies and funded by UK aid from the UK government – and the Making All Voices Count (MAVC) programme.