Research Themes

The Citizenship DRC focused its research on nine thematic areas. Additionally, the project distilled lessons from across these themes in a series of papers that can be found under Overarching Lessons.

  • Overarching lessons

    The Citizenship DRC has a series of overview papers and policy briefings that synthesize and distil lessons from the last ten years of work. This collection is a good place to begin exploring the Citizenship DRC’s work.

  • Citizenship: meanings and expressions

    This research helps to define ‘a citizen’s perspective’ by looking at poor peoples' perceptions and experiences of rights and citizenship in different contexts; understanding how different these can be has been a point of departure for years of innovative scholarship.

  • Claiming rights and accountability

    This theme explores how to improve accountability mechanisms within civil society and the corporate sector in order to bring development policy more in tune to poor peoples' own aspirations to rights.

  • New spaces for change?

    Research on this theme provides insight into the potential and pitfalls of the so-called ‘new democratic spaces’ that invite citizens to shape policy and services: everything from health service user groups to forums for participatory planning.

  • Science and citizenship

    This research examines how rapid advances in science and new technologies pose a range of pressing challenges to citizenship: for instance, the nature of expertise and how to recognize knowledge in the process of public participation.

  • Deepening democracy

    How is democracy created and revitalized by citizen engagement? This research looks at how citizen engagement – through protest, participation, activism, litigation and lobbying – interacts with formal representative democracy.

  • Winning policy change

    How does citizen activism win changes in national policy? This research looks at what factors make the difference, and the steps that are needed to overcome setbacks and consolidate the smaller victories.

  • Global citizen engagement

    Just as globalization has reconfigured economic production, it has reshaped politics. Research from the Citizenship DRC reveals how these changes have given rise to new meanings of citizenship – with dynamics of both inclusion and exclusion.

  • Social movements in the south

    Citizenship DRC research on this theme helps to redress the overemphasis in social movement theory on North America and western Europe. Southern cases studies by southern authors give social movements a refreshed look.

  • Citizenship in violent settings

    Work in this area examines how issues of violence, hate and fear affect the capacities of citizens to participate, and ways in which a transition from violence to citizenship can be facilitated through participatory social action.

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