About Unruly Politics

Unruly Politics is a new research programme being developed by the IDS Participation, Power and Social Change Team. The programme seeks to develop a “seeing like a citizen” approach to understanding citizen engagement beyond the “visible spectrum” of governance and participation as conventionally defined in development policy and practice. Its research agenda focuses on why and how citizens act politically in ways that are often described as unruly, illegitimate and irrational.

This programme draws on team members’ previous work in Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Mozambique and the UK. The team is currently developing an “Unruly Politics Manifesto” that will be available on this page shortly, along with other material on this new research programme.


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