£19.99 | $35.95
8 April 2010
216mm x 138mm
Citizen Action and National Policy Reform
Making Change Happen
John Gaventa and Rosemary McGee
How does citizen activism win changes in national policy? Which factors help to make myriad efforts by diverse actors add up to reform? What is needed to overcome setbacks, and to consolidate the smaller victories?
These questions need answers. Aid agencies have invested heavily in supporting civil society organizations as change agents in fledgling and established democracies alike. Evidence gathered by donors, NGOs and academics demonstrates how advocacy and campaigning can reconfigure power relations and transform governance structures at the local and global levels. In the rush to go global or stay local, however, the national policy sphere was recently neglected. Today, there is growing recognition of the key role of champions of change inside national governments, and the potential of their engagement with citizen activists outside. These advances demand a better understanding of how national and local actors can combine approaches to simultaneously work the levers of change, and how their successes relate to actors and institutions at the international level.
This book brings together eight studies of successful cases of citizen activism for national policy changes in South Africa, Morocco, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Turkey, India and the Philippines. They detail the dynamics and strategies that have led to the introduction, change or effective implementation of policies responding to a range of rights deficits. Drawing on influential social science theory about how political and social change occurs, the book brings new empirical insights to bear on it, both challenging and enriching current understandings.
'A treasure trove of ideas and experiences drawn from not just one, but eight fascinating examples of successful social and political change. Gaventa and McGee offer ideas, inspiration and hope to activists everywhere. Indispensable.' - Duncan McGreen, Head of Research, Oxfam House
'In contrast to the widespread emphasis on the local and global, this volume 'brings the national back in' to the literature on citizen action and policy reform The editors bring together a remarkably diverse array of highly original case studies, capped off with a compelling and accessible analytical synthesis of lessons learned.' - Jonathan Fox, author of Accountability Politics: Power and Voice in Rural Mexico
'Citizen Action and National Policy : Making Change Happen could not be better timed... The current scenario for civil society, in both national and global contexts. is all too often characterised by severe democratic deficits and the capture of governance by elites. This book provides reasons to hope that citizens can effect significant policy change, tangible lessons in doing so effectively and realistic assessments of the potential pitfalls. As importantly, it clearly establishes an evidence base of the value of approaches whose impact and effectiveness are hard to demonstrate: international agreements and covenants; collaboration - South-South, South-North and between civil society and government; the rights-based approach; and investments in building and strengthening democratic states and civil society infrastructure. For democratic governments and civil society alike, the cases provide a critical counter-argument against claims that citizen participation in governance is either inefficient, ineffective or both. The compelling combination of frontline perspectives of each struggle with intelligent, strategic analysis of the factors that led to success or failure, make this publication an enlightening read for anyone with an interest in reducing the democratic deficits that bedevil the quest for equity and justice.' - Ingrid Srinath, CIVICUS
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Making Change Happen: Citizen action and national policy reform - John Gaventa and Rosemary McGee
1. Gaining Comprehensive AIDS Treatment in South Africa: the extraordinary 'ordinary' - Steven Friedman
2. Redistributing land in the Philippines: social movements and state reformers - Saturnino M. Borras Jr. and Jennifer C. Franco
3. Reducing Maternal Mortality in Mexico: building vertical alliances for change - Michael D. Layton, Beatriz Campillo Carrete, Ireri Ablanedo Terrazas, Ana María Sánchez Rodríguez
4. Protecting the Child in Chile: civil Society and the state - Claudio Fuentes
5. Winning the Right to Information in India: Is knowledge power? - Amita Baviskar
6. Democratising Urban Policy in Brazil: participation and the right to the city - Leonardo Avritzer
7. Winning Women's Rights in Morocco: cultural Adaptations and Islamic family law - Alexandra Pittman and Rabéa Naciri
8. Re/Forming Laws to Secure Women's Rights in Turkey: The campaign on the Penal Code - Pinar Ilkkaracan
About the Authors:
John Gaventa is a Research Professor and Fellow in the Participation, Power and Social Change Team at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. A political sociologist by training, he has written widely on issues of power, citizen action, participation and democracy, including the award winning Power and Powerlessness in an Appalachian Valley (1980) and Global Citizen Action (co-editor, 2001). He also has been active with a number of NGOs and civil society organisations internationally, including the Highlander Centre in the United States and Oxfam in the UK. He is the director of the Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability.
Rosemary McGee is a Research Fellow in the Participation, Power and Social Change Team at the Institute of Development Studies since 1999. She has extensive work experience in policy and programme posts in the international development NGO sector. Her research and teaching focus in particular on forms of citizen participation in decision-making, governance and rights-claiming processes; and on the international aid system, both official and non-governmental. Her doctoral research was conducted in a violence-torn region of Colombia, as was much of her NGO work, and she continues to work closely on that country as well as others in Latin America and Africa.