Volume 50 Number 3
Published: September 30, 2019
Conflict, violence, and fragility exacerbate the difficulties faced by poor and marginalised people, particularly in influencing the policy decisions that affect their lives. Comparing five cases in conflict-affected contexts, this introduction highlights a number of approaches. It emphasises the importance of distinguishing processes of accountability from those of empowerment, and recognising the complexities of the relationships between them. It highlights how the dynamic nature of contexts of fragility, violence, and conflict constrain citizen action but simultaneously offer opportunities for civic actors to form coalitions with new actors and movements. It underscores the value in viewing accountability gains within the longer historical trajectory of particular conflicts. Finally, it illustrates the core importance of narratives and framing in driving collective action and embedding the legitimacy of claims. The cases highlight that progress towards accountability is often transitory and partial, but together also foreground key issues that are relevant for understanding empowerment and accountability processes.