Building citizenship in a context of violence

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Joanna Wheeler, IDS presents

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Building citizenship in a context of violence

  1. 1. Building citizenship in a context of violence Presentation by Joanna Wheeler January 16 2009
  2. 2. <ul><li>Citizenship is necessary for effective states </li></ul><ul><li>Violence leads to fragilities of citizenship in both fragile and strong states; increasingly high rates of violence persist </li></ul><ul><li>Constructive and destructive role of communication in a context of violence </li></ul>Building citizenship in a context of violence
  3. 4. 2006 DFID White Paper: Helping to Build States That Work For the Poor <ul><li>‘ Effective states are central to development. They protect people’s rights and provide security, economic growth and services like education and health care....This means we need to work not just with governments, but also with citizens and civil society.’ </li></ul>
  4. 5. Reversing the Telescope: Seeing like a citizen rather than seeing like a state <ul><li>Citizens are key social actors, rights bearers, and sources of knowledge about democracy building </li></ul><ul><li>Asks how citizens perceive their rights and identities as actors for democracy and how they engage with the institutions that affect their lives </li></ul><ul><li>Taking this perspective gives a very different view of development interventions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>in some cases the institutions being strengthened by external assistance are the very ones seen by citizens as anti-democratic </li></ul></ul>
  5. 6. Active citizens build democracies, not (only) the other way around <ul><li>Citizens can build democratic institutions by contributing to different dimensions of more effective states </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legitimacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Responsiveness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accountability </li></ul></ul>
  6. 7. Citizens and Accountable States <ul><li>Multiple ways in which citizens and civil society organisations can increase accountability: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Citizen report cards, budget monitoring, policy advocacy, demands for freedom of information, etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help the state hold other non-state actors to account (e.g. corporate social responsibility) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accountability is more than ‘accounting’ – citizen action goes beyond technical approaches to challenge power relations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Citizens link formal and informal strategies, draw on international standards and local, regional and global networks </li></ul></ul>
  7. 9. Violence leads to fragilities of citizenship <ul><li>Fractures sense of identity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Role of fear </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Undermines access to basic services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Violent actors mediate access </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fragments authority, weakening basis for state interventions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>State must compete with violent actors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Limits the possibilities for citizen action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Barriers at individual, community, and national levels </li></ul></ul>
  8. 10. Constructive role of participatory communication <ul><li>Increased interaction between people separated by fear and stigma, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Crossing boundaries created and reinforced by violence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Validation of people’s own perspectives and on insecurity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential for counter-labelling </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Builds the basis for greater solidarity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Necessary element for citizen action </li></ul></ul>
  9. 12. Destructive role of participatory communication <ul><li>Exacerbates/reinforces exclusions and existing power relations </li></ul><ul><li>Reductive and superficial </li></ul><ul><li>Tendency for self-censorship, and increased risk </li></ul>
  10. 13. Building active citizens in a violent context? <ul><li>Recognition, not only redistribution; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sense of political community eroded by fear </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Citizenship (skills, identities, practices) are emergent and take time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Address parallel structures of authority and gaps in accountability </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Start with the assets not just the deficits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Foster leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recognise the role of communication </li></ul>

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