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.


Image of Alex Shankland
Alex Shankland

Research Fellow

Image of Aly Khalil
Aly Khalil

PhD Research Student

Image of Anuradha Joshi
Anuradha Joshi

Research Fellow

Image of Becky Carter
Becky Carter

Research Officer

Image of Brigitte Rohwerder
Brigitte Rohwerder

Research Officer

Image of Colin Anderson
Colin Anderson

Research Officer

Image of Danny Burns
Danny Burns

Professorial Research Fellow

Programmes and centres


Recent work

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Business Associations in Developing Countries

Cooperation between government and business generally contributes to better policymaking and improved economic performance. Business associations can play a key role in facilitating this process, as experience in a growing number of developing countries shows.

1 January 1996


Democratization in the South: The Jagged Wave

This book explores the political dynamics of the recent wave of democratization in developing societies. Within a broad comparative perspective, the book focuses on the particular experience of four countries - South Korea, Ghana, Zambia and Chile.

1 January 1996


The Power of Participation: PRA and Policy

Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) has much to offer the policy-making process. It provides a way to give poor people a voice, enabling them to express and analyse their problems and priorities. Used well, it can generate important and often surprising insights which can contribute to policies...

1 January 1996