Thinking and working politically: Reviewing the evidence on the integration of politics into development practice over the past decade – Laws and Marquette (2018)


This paper provides an overview of the thinking and working political evidence base in relation to political context, sector, and organisation. It discusses reoccurring factors that are often recognised in the thinking and working politically literature as evidence for why politically driven programmes are more successful than traditional, technical development projects. Laws and Marquette identify recurring features of successful thinking and working politically programming including: politically smart, locally-led, iterative problem-solving; brokering relationships; flexibility; long-term commitment; a supportive environment; and appropriate monitoring and evaluation. They show where research efforts on thinking and working politically have been focussed so far and use this to provide guidance on where research should focus in future. The final section of this paper attempts to outline ways in which the core assumptions of the thinking and working politically agenda can be tested more thoroughly, such as by comparing a broader range of programmes in different sectors to draw firmer conclusions about the effectiveness of thinking and working politically on development outcomes.