The objective of this working paper is to outline the participatory violence appraisal (PVA) methodology implemented for the sub-city level studies in the ‘Understanding the Tipping Points of Urban Conflict’ (UTP) research project. It is intended to assist researchers when designing sub-city or local level research. As such it does not provide a definitive ‘blueprint’ but rather elaborates a generic methodology that may be easily adapted to the needs of different research objectives. This working paper complements the UTP Concept Paper (Moser and Horn 2011) that sets out the UTP research project’s objectives, and its associated conceptual framework. Underlying the UTP project is the assumption that two concepts – tipping points and value chains – provide added value and introduce new perspectives on an already much debated and contested issue, namely violence in cities of the South. As elaborated in detail in the concept paper the research focuses less on documenting a static phenomenon, be it conflict or violence, and more on examining the shift from one state to another, in this case from conflict to violence – the so-called tipping point – and from one type of violence to another, identified as a violence chain. A focus on processes rather than a phenomenon requires a research methodology that moves from statistical measurement to a narrative understanding of social, economic and political processes – but also one that is sufficiently robust and cannot be dismissed as anecdotal information. Considerations such as these have important implications for the design of the research methodology.
Moser, C. Understanding the tipping point of urban conflict : participatory methodology for gender-based and political violence. University of Manchester, (2012) 40 pp. [Understanding the tipping point of urban conflict : violence, cities and poverty reduction in the developing world working paper. Series number 2.]