The Dignity Report - 5 MB
The Dignity Report charts 10 studies and three years of research on dignity and international development. We’ve learned why dignity matters, and how power is always present.
In that time, we’ve learned that:
Dignity and its relationship to international development should be studied in greater depth. It is an important concept in international development and aid, with a major role to play in debates around economics, displacement, conflict, gender, disability and more. Drawing on the previous literature review, we can identify five main research questions.
There is a strong base of research that approaches dignity philosophically, and there is a need only to apply that to international development, as Holloway & Grandi (2018) have done, and as Wein (2020) does. When it comes to measurement, there is some existing work to draw on, but little has been directly applied to international development. A good start has been made on conducting descriptive research among several populations, but the vast majority of the world has not yet been covered. No research has been identified on how to increase support for respectfulness, and there is consequently no base of research to begin to draw on.
In development studies, there have been few attempts at measurement. Yet even among these, there is significant variation in topics covered even when measuring identical interactions in similar contexts. As yet, all the identified measures have been in the form of surveys, and there has been no published attempt to develop incentive-compatible measures. The Dignity Project creates open access, ready-translated tools to help people measure whether their program is respectful. We’ll have a new scale, carefully validated across cultures, coming soon.
There are many opportunities to examine different social situations. When it comes to associational and predictive studies, there are a couple of major existing datasets that should be analysed. These could yield new understandings of what demographic and other features are associated with experiencing respect.
When we are ready, there are plenty of ideas available to us, including better feedback and listening, different types of representation, different procedures for consent, and for accountability. We can replicate existing work. We can test strategies based on seeing people, giving them choices and treating them as equals. We’ll be investigating all this and more, as the Dignity Project progresses.
In understanding the relationship of dignity to international development, a profusion of possible studies offer themselves. Scholars of international development, political science and microeconomics have been paying increasing attention to dignity. As that circle of researchers expands, there is plenty of room for many more projects. We hope our work at Dignity Project will help guide them.
Beyond that, we need to start building cultures of dignity within organisations. We need to highlight those who are already doing good work, and create practical ways to do it yourself within your organization. Those who care about dignity need to come together to advocate for more respectful international development. Our work continues.
Read the full report.
© Dignity Project
16 May 2023
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