If you only read one thing this week…

Reducing urban violence through participatory methodologies by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
March 14, 2007, 11:15 pm
Filed under: conflict, Development theory, If you have 30 mins

Caroline Moser, Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution writes a fascinating paper on how participatory methodologies typically used for poverty reduction are being used to try to reduce urban violence in developing countries. The paper can be found as a pdf here, and a summary is posted below.Urban violence is a serious development constraint in developing countries … but there is little agreement on the underlying causes of such endemic violence or of its costs and consequences. Equally, the capacity of various sector-specific violence reduction interventions to address this pervasive problem is often questioned.

Recently there has been growing acknowledgment that urban residents themselves may be the key to a better understanding of such violence and to identifying appropriate interventions. Participatory urban appraisals offer a practical way for local people to articulate their perceptions of the complexity of everyday violence. Complementing existing knowledge, such assessments assist in developing a more holistic framework that positions violence in terms of three interrelated components; first, the social, economic, political, and institutional categories of violent manifestations; second, the underlying causal factors, not only structural factors but also individual identity and agency; and third, the costs of violence in terms of its impacts on the assets of poor households.

While participatory methodologies are now recognized as an important way of bringing the ‘voices of the poor’ to policymakers, to date they have focused on the problem of poverty. Thus this study pioneers a new violence-focused research methodology.


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