Governance, Power and Participation

Our research on governance, power relations, participation and citizen engagement, informs change processes in pursuit of social justice and social change. With power and politics central to our analysis, we support the generation of new evidence that contributes to improved processes for good governance, citizen engagement, empowerment and accountability.

We pioneer new ways of working with governments, communities, activists and academics, to understand the complex relationships and processes that exist across states, markets, and citizens, and between formal and informal institutions, to tackle issues such as digital inequalities, women’s participation and empowerment, decentralisation and local governance, rapid urbanisation, migration, taxation and domestic resource mobilisation, food security and hunger and nutrition. These draw on our extensive expertise in complex approaches to how change happens.  Through our research and policy partnerships we are also bringing new insights on the role that rising powers and emerging economies such as China and Brazil have in relation to global governance and tackling development challenges such as sustainability and poverty.  Our world-renown participatory research has a particular emphasis on systematic social exclusion facing women, people living in extreme poverty, people with disabilities, slaves bonded labourers, indigenous peoples and others. We advance cutting edge methodological development in action research, participatory visual methods, participatory mapping, participatory statistics, participatory Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) amongst others.


Alex Shankland

Research Fellow

Aly Khalil

Postgraduate Researcher

Anuradha Joshi

Research Fellow

Becky Carter

Research Officer

Brigitte Rohwerder

Research Officer

Colin Anderson

Research Officer

Programmes and centres

Recent work

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Upcoming Event

Sussex Development Lectures

China and the future of multilateralism

Postponed from March 15 to May 24 We are living in an era of ‘polycrisis’, of turbulence, and interconnected, wicked global challenges. Responding to such challenges requires collective action – on issues as diverse as climate, global public health, debt and digital governance. The...

24 May 2023

Upcoming Event

Theorising the pathways of participatory interventions

In this Participation, Inclusion and Social Change cluster Seminar we are celebrating our new partnership with Fundacion Paraguaya (the developers of the Poverty Stoplight) and will discuss and share how we develop understandings of participatory processes to work to generate change through...

30 March 2023

Upcoming Event

Book release: White Saviorism in International Development

White Saviorism in International Development: Theories, Practices and Lived Experiences. There is a growing interest in understanding the meaning, manifestations, analysis and implications of racism in North/South relations. White Saviorism in International development seeks to remedy the...

28 March 2023


Do not say the planet is dying

“The world is on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.” This was the opening statement from António Guterres, the UN Secretary General at COP27. There is no denying that the issue of climate change requires immediate action, but do proclamations such as this lead to...

Sumaiya Jawed

21 March 2023


Phases of Zimbabwe’s land reform: a shifting political economy

When many people make grand proclamations about Zimbabwe’s land reform, there is often very little specificity – both of where and when they are talking about. For the post-2000 land reform is not an event, but a process – with both a prehistory going back to the colonial era and a future...

21 March 2023