What is the Citizenship DRC?
The Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability (Citizenship DRC) was an experiment in global research. In 2001, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded a coordinating team, based at the Institute of Development Studies, to assemble a research consortium to investigate how citizens hold institutions to account and claim their rights.
By giving researchers from both the north and south greater independence, this approach was intended to support long-term research with the objectives of generating new knowledge, disseminating this widely to decision-makers and practitioners, and building the capacity of partner institutions to carry out high-quality research, communication and policy engagement. The Citizenship DRC largely fulfilled its mission.
Over a decade, the Citizenship DRC built a network of researchers, policy-makers, practitioners and activists and collected more than 150 empirically grounded case studies that examine how citizen action and participation shape states and societies. These cases provided the evidence and insights needed for a new paradigm of development with the concept of citizenship at its core. Citizenship implies a legal equality, but the reality in all countries - whether in the north or south - is that not all votes count the same, not all voices are heard, and equal rights are unequally distributed.
What has it taken for citizens of different countries to become more equal before their state?
What obstacles still prevent some citizens from claiming their rights?
What are the consequences when they try?
In fulfilling its mission, the Citizenship DRC evolved into a network of seven institutional partners in the UK, Angola, Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Nigeria and South Africa, with associate researchers from Mexico, Jamaica, Kenya, Canada, and Argentina, and collaborators from many more countries. The partners today continue to work on the core themes of the Citizenship DRC.