Widgets or Watchdogs? Conceptual Explorations in Social Accountability
|Title||Widgets or Watchdogs? Conceptual Explorations in Social Accountability|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2012|
|Authors||Joshi A, Houtzager PP|
Strengthening ‘social accountability’ is emer- ging as a key strategy for improving public services and attaining the Millennium Devel- opment Goals. Yet current conceptualizations of social accountability have tended to focus on it as ‘mechanisms’ or ‘widgets’, a view which tends to depoliticize the very processes through which poor people make claims. We propose an alternative conceptualization which focuses on disaggregating social accountability actions, and viewing them as part of a long-term ongoing political engage- ment of social actors with the state. Such a conceptualization can advance understand- ings of when the poor engage in social accountability and the impact it might have.