Journal Article


Towards a New Social Justice Agenda: understanding Political responses to crises

Published on 1 January 2009

Food riots across the developing world in 2008 sent powerful messages about the limits to people’s tolerance of acute economic insecurity. Yet political responses of this kind are mainly treated as the inevitable social convulsions after economic shocks – as natural, almost physiological responses to hunger.

This briefing proposes that these political responses to crises can provide insights into popular perspectives on the global political issues of the day: global economic uncertainty, the moral limits to market freedom, and responsibilities of governments to protect against risk. understanding such perspectives could inform emerging debates within development and help shape a new social justice agenda.


Naomi Hossain

Research Fellow

Rachel Sabates-Wheeler

Rural Futures Cluster Lead

Robert Chambers

Research Associate

Richard Jolly

Research Associate

Rosalind Eyben

Emeritus Fellow

Publication details

published by
Hossain, N. with Bishop, K., Chambers, R., Carroll, K., Eyben, R., Jolly, R., Melamed, C and Sabates-Wheeler, R.
Smithyes, C.
IDS In Focus Policy Briefing, volume 11, issue 5


Related content