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Dignity research agenda

Consensus statement

Tom Wein 9 November 2022

Photo credit: Calvin Ochieng/The Dignity Project

Consensus Statement: Dignity Research Agenda - 293 KB

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Report: Measuring Felt Respect for Dignity - 395 KB

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Executive Summary

This consensus statement on the research agenda on dignity will serve as a reference for those in academia and adjacent research fields proposing to study dignity, respect, and its related topics -especially as they relate to international development.

Many people study dignity, but they are relatively scattered across departments, disciplines and institutions. There is no home for the study of dignity, where new collaborations might be struck up and progress in its study be tracked. At least some reviewers treat it as a marginal or unhelpfully fuzzy concept.

The IDinsight Dignity Initiative can help address this. We hope this statement will help people coordinate, collaborate and recognise the value of studying dignity. From 12-14 September, we organised a symposium on the research agenda. Many researchers on dignity attended. Sessions included keynotes from Dr Miriam Laker-Oketta and Dr Alicia Ely Yamin, as well as panel discussions on dignity’s value in understanding social movements, state bureaucracies, and research ethics. During this symposium, we solicited input over several sessions as to the priority research questions that people hope a dignity research field will address.

Five themes of dignity research

We agreed to organise these research questions around five themes, building on Wein (2020). The five themes are:

  1. How is dignity to be defined?
  2. How can respectfulness be measured?
  3. How does dignity and respect operate?
  4. What acts increase perceptions of respectfulness, and what are the
    consequences of that?
  5. How do actors and sectors regard dignity and what actions will increase
    support for a dignity agenda?

What happens now?

  • Use this agenda to guide you in selecting research questions, and cite it.
  • Connect with others studying dignity, and let us know when you do so.
  • Co-sign this work (using this link) if you support this agenda

Co-sign now