The Governance and Politics cluster primarily explores the links and relationships between politics, institutions and collective action and how these shape democratic and policy outcomes. The research conducted by the cluster has a strong empirical and policy focus, exploring how government reforms, policy and institutional changes and citizen’s participation can lead to pro-poor development and social justice.

The work conducted by the cluster broadly falls under the following themes:

a) the changing role and capacity of the state in the context of democratization and liberalization;

b) the role of collective action and social movements in creating inclusive and participatory governance mechanisms and influencing service delivery and public policy;

c) the role and effectiveness of local government institutions;

d) the changing nature and influence of the transnational actors, including donors and international organizations, on development policy and processes.

The cluster also engages in academic teaching and training; piloting action research; and policy advocacy.