New perceptions of citizenship emerging in poor countries of the developing world are identifying a conceptual shift that emphasizes inclusive citizenship as the exercise of agency and the re-casting of rights by citizens themselves. These perceptions are fuelled by the 'rights based' approach to development, which sees exclusion itself as a denial of rights. Collective action can be a way of materializing rights in poor countries and of realizing this new citizen role. Contemporary collective action in Bangladesh indicates that although the space for citizen action is limited by unequal power sharing in society and fear of anticipated reaction, power hierarchies can themselves be utilized for achieving group objectives. Collective action enables citizen action in claiming rights that have direct bearing upon people's lived realities, but is less effective in claiming rights that involve conflict of interest. Thus, the process of articulating and claiming rights takes place in a situation of continuing social differentiation where inclusiveness remains an elusive concept.
Mahmud, S. Making rights real in Bangladesh through collective citizen action. IDS Bulletin (2002) 33 (2) 1i-12. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2002.tb00026.x]