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



Wellbeing, Housing and Infrastructure in Turkey (WHIT)

This research and action project will contribute to finding ‘durable solutions’ for housing infrastructural deficits in Turkey, in the context of large scale displacement of Syrian refugees and rapid urbanisation.

Recent work

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Law and Order Statistics in the Third World

IDS Discussion Paper;189

This paper is about the unreliability of crime statistics in developing countries. There are many operational, technical, institutional, social and cultural reasons for these inaccuracies. What the police do when an offence is reported and whether they treat it as a crime is the most...

1 July 1983

Journal Article


IDS Bulletin 1.3

I was as much puzzled by Mr. Enoch Powell's review of Myrdal's book as by the decision of the Editor of the Bulletin to use it as a basis of a discussion on development aid. What puzzled me about Mr, Enoch Powell's review is that we do not seem to have read the same book. But then I reflected...

Thomas Balogh

1 July 1968

Journal Article

Public Administration Training Research Project

IDS Bulletin 1.2

Several members of the Institute of Development Studies been engaged since the beginning of this year in a research project on Public Administration Training. The project is being directed by Colin Leys and the author. Working with them is Theo Mars, also in the Institute. According to the plan...

Bernard Schaffer

1 May 1968

Journal Article

Development Aid: A Symposium

IDS Bulletin 1.2

In 1968 the foreign aid programmes of both Great Britain and the United States have been cut. On both the Right and Left there is increasing scepticism about. the ethics and the efficacy of the types of aid which have been given to developing countries. As Hugh Stephenson remarked in an article...

1 May 1968

Journal Article

The Fashion of Being Unfashionable

IDS Bulletin 1.2

It is the fashion to be unfashionable. Mr. Enoch Powell considers it a sufficient ground for condemning overseas aid to say that it is "intellectually fashionable". In the fashionably unfashionable current anti-aid crusade, Right and Left meet on common ground. The Left argues that the purpose...

Paul Streeten

1 May 1968

Journal Article

Aid: Its Utility and Its Future

IDS Bulletin 1.2

Enoch Powell remarks that 'there is no electoral pull in "aid"'; to most people "aid" is positively and increasingly unpopular'; hence, perhaps his opposition to it. But however politically opportune, his views have a certain consistency. Aid in the post-colonial world is lseen in various ways...

Robert Sutcliffe

1 May 1968