Trust, Time and Participatory Research in Regional Social Policymaking: The African Union and Southern African Development Community

Publication Date: 
Publication Place: 
Milton Keynes (UK)
Publication Language: 
The Open University
Series Title: 
PRARI working paper
Working Paper Type: 

This paper reports two empirical studies undertaken in 2012 and 2014 both of which examine the extent to which International Organisations have argued for and helped to develop regional social policies in regional associations of government in Africa and in particular within SADC. The paper argues that within the context of an analytical framework for understanding policy change that combines social structural, institutional, agency and policy discourses, biographies of policy players including civil servants (national, regional and global) and individual policy advocates acting in often fleeting global and regional policy spaces can and do impact on policy change, in our case regional social policy formulation. The paper argues therefore that researchers applying participatory research tools can in certain circumstances also influence policy in favourable conditions where actor-researchers as agents have earned trust over time in engagements with key individual policy players in international and regional organisations and manage to shift policy discourses.