A new wave of anti-corruption initiatives has put everyday citizens at the centre of anti-corruption thinking. Indeed, one of the defining features of the 21st century anti-corruption world is that everyday people have often been at the very centre of it.

This module analyses the contributions that everyday people can, can’t, do and don’t make when trying to fight corruption.

It begins by unpacking how and why people are driven to act. Is it by a sense of grievance at perceived injustices? If so, what are the tipping points that prompt people to move from inaction to action?

Or does people power centre around those who have the resources (time, money, networks) to engage in fighting corruption? Are there particular touchstone issues that drive people to stand up and actively try to counteract corrupt practice? If so, what are they and why are there so frequently differential responses to what are in essence often similar problems?

The module also looks to make sense of the impact of people power initiatives. When do they succeed? What does success look like in practice? When do they fail?

This is done via a number of case studies taken from both the Global North and the Global South. These range from freedom of information initiatives in countries like the UK to participatory budgeting in Brazil. From ipaidabribe.com in India through to the ever-increasing use of anti-corruption apps. We’ll also encourage you to analyse people power initiatives from your own particular region.

Module Lead: Professor Dan Hough

What you’ll learn

  • You’ll learn what people power anti-corruption practices look like in practice. There will be analyses of a wide array of initiatives from all around the world.
  • You’ll gain a greater understanding of what drives participation in these initiatives. You’ll be able to appreciate why people in similar situations sometimes do and sometimes don’t get involved.
  • You’ll learn to critically evaluate each of the main approaches to understanding why and how people power happens.

By the end of the module, you’ll be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of what people power looks like in practice
  • illustrate why some people opt to get involved whereas others do not
  • apply this knowledge to a range of real-world cases of people power, explaining why they happened and why they succeeded or failed.

Types of assessment may include:

  • Individual presentation (30%) – you’ll identify the characteristics of the individuals most likely to participate in a grassroots anti-corruption initiative – the aim is to pinpoint who engages in anti-corruption actions, why they do it and when.
  • Written analysis (70%) – you’ll compare and contrast civil society initiatives that offer citizens the opportunity to do something about corruption. This is an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of why and how these initiatives emerge, the factors influencing their tactics and their effectiveness in bringing corruption under control.