Broadening Spaces for Citizens in Violent Contexts


Violence and everyday insecurity are amongst the root causes of poverty: a simple and true statement that has at last been acknowledged in several international agreements, including the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence (2008) and Dili Declaration (2010). Several new funding mechanisms have even been established to support efforts to reduce violence, including those that address the special security needs of excluded groups, women, youth and children. What recent policies have failed to adequately consider, however, is that poor and dispossessed people often perceive the state as a perpetrator or accomplice - whether by active complicity or passive omission – in the violence visited upon them. For policymakers and practitioners eager to move beyond top-down approaches to reducing insecurity and violence, this policy briefing offers insights into how local residents can be directly involved in finding solutions for their security and livelihood needs. Research from a range of contexts characterised by violence and everyday insecurity suggests that external actors can help to broaden spaces where citizens can take action in non-violent, socially legitimate ways, but that success depends on gaining a locally nuanced understanding of the complex relationship between violent and non-violent actors, and between forms of everyday violence and political violence.


Citizenship DRC Policy Briefing, 4 pp.

Broadening Spaces for Citizens in Violent Contexts

Published 1 January 2010