This Working Paper on Political and Social Science Research is one of a
series of 10 papers published alongside DFID's Research Strategy
2008-2013. It presents the case for DFID-funded research on
Political and Social Science Research - drawing on the responses given
during a global consultation that DFID convened in 2007 about its future
Research into social development, governance and political science is
about people, power and authority and relationships between citizens'
social structures and the state. It is also about how people manage
their own affairs as well as how organisations and institutions
function. To date DFID's research in this area has focused on the
multi-dimensional nature of poverty and the processes of institutional
and social change, and in particular on what to do where states do not
work in the interests of the poor, covering issues of citizenship,
crisis states, state building and human insecurity.
This work is complemented by DFID's governance and social change
research which investigates a range of cross country and cross-cultural
themes where knowledge gaps about rights and inequalities exist. Most
programmes are implemented through support to Development Research
Centres and Research Programme Consortia. Spending on social
development, governance and political science research amounted to £12
million in 2006/7 and this will rise to £15 million in 2007/8.
Better social policy can lead to higher standards of living and faster
poverty reduction. However, while the quality of social policy has
improved over the last two decades global standards have remained
stagnant, highlighting the urgent need for more determined action. Key
social policy challenges remain, among them poverty, child and maternal
mortality; gender inequality and other forms of social exclusion; and
changing population dynamics.
In response to these challenges, and informed by the consultation
process, DFID's future research in this domain will seek to gain a
fuller and deeper understanding about the complex and dynamic world of
power, politics and poverty on the one hand, and people and
participation on the other. It will focus on the most challenging
environments where DFID works and the most intractable development
problems that poor countries face.
Four broad research themes will be tackled: Conflict, state fragility
and social cohesion - achieving effective and long-term improvements in
the accountability of governments and states in fragile and
post-conflict environments; Social exclusion, inequality and poverty
reduction - including a better understanding of the role of social
exclusion and inequality in determining the relationship between growth,
employment and poverty; Building strong and effective states -
cross-country policy research on different forms of state
accountability, public financial management, power, politics and state
society relations, and alternative, non-Western models of governance;
and Hardest-to-reach MDGs - a new programme of multi-country research
focusing specifically on the \"hardest to reach\" development questions:
water, sanitation, education, health, hunger.
DFID, London, UK, 25 pp.
DFID Research Strategy 2008-2013. Working Paper Series: Political and Social Science Research