This article provides a conceptual elaboration of the themes of citizenship, participation and accountability and explores links between them. It builds on the Society for Participatory Research in Asia's (PRIA) conceptual understanding and practical experiences of these three concepts and highlights three research projects developed with the Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability (Citizenship DRC), which aim to strengthen their understanding.The author highlights the historical approach to spaces for participation. Forms of participation in traditional and modern contexts are identified and the article elaborates on a Citizenship DRC research project where PRIA is studying multiple forms and sites of participation in the forestry and watershed management sectors. The article further elaborates on the distinctive political and cultural meaning of participation, drawing on lessons from a study on Civil Society and Governance, undertaken in collaboration with Commonwealth Foundation. Examining the individual and collective notion of citizenship, the article recognizes the need to examine the relationship between the two notions of citizenship. PRIA's Citizenship DRC study on citizenship in the newly created state of Jharkhand aims to examine various meanings and images of citizenship, thus contributing to different notions of citizenship. Elaborating the third theme of accountability, the author explores issues of public good, public institutions and public accountability, with a focus on the significance of multi-party accountability. Under the Citizenship DRC research project, PRIA is studying the process of multi-party accountability in Maharashtra for the promotion of just and equitable industrial development. The article finally links the three concepts in a governance wheel, recognizing that the three form the essential basis for meaningful governance.
Tandon, R. Linking Citizenship, Participation and Accountability: A Perspective from PRIA. IDS Bulletin (2002) 33 (2) i-viii. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2002.tb00015.x]