Inside the ‘Black Box’ of Relational Approaches: A Comparative Analysis of Two Participatory Action Research Interventions

Project status


International development scholars are increasingly exploring relational approaches to the creation of effective, sustainable solutions to social problematics. But how does ‘relationality’ work? Which elements work better or worse? And how does this relate to human needs? The research team will answer these questions through a comparative analysis of two projects that adopt a relational approach to community development – the ‘CLARISSA’ project in Dhaka and the ‘WorkFREE’ project in Hyderabad. Both deploy large-scale Participatory Action Research (PAR) interventions with communities of poor, marginalised, urban, informal economy workers. The research team will analyse these interventions using a needs-based theoretical and methodological framework in order to unpack the black box of relationality at the heart of PAR. Through comparative analysis, the team aims to further empirics and theory around the emergent ‘relational turn’ in development intervention.

Research team

Dr Neil Howard, University of Bath; Dr Sarath Davala, India Network for Basic Income, India; Ms Lopita Huq, BRAC University, Bangladesh

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