Call for Papers: IDS Bulletin, Anti-Harassment: Action for Accountability

What does accountability look like for addressing sexual harassment collectively? Submit a 150 word abstract by June 1st

The #MeToo campaign has generated ripple effects globally in terms of emboldening women and men to talk about the occurrence of sexual harassment in various institutional settings. It has also encouraged whistle-blowers globally to expose complacency and ineffectual reporting mechanisms where their calls for action earlier would have conventionally been suppressed as unnecessarily inflammatory or alarmist. While the #MeToo campaign has opened the floodgates of claims-making against practices that are deeply imbued in abuses of power, they have nevertheless raised important questions beyond the original campaign regarding what does accountability look like for addressing sexual harassment collectively? What of the outcome of collective claims-making in difficult and fragile contexts?
This special issue of the IDS Bulletin, edited by Mariz Tadros and Jenny Edwards for the Action for Empowerment and Accountability Research Programme (A4EA) is not about the scope or nature of the problem of sexual harassment or its drivers. Rather it is about what accountability for addressing this phenomenon looks like on the ground. The issue aims to draw together articles from scholars, practitioners, policy experts and activists to reflect on this issue from their own contexts from across the world. Inevitably, the articles will touch on the nature of sexual harassment as part of the background information, however, the focus will be on what accountability looks like in particularly difficult to work in settings (high volatility, unpredictability, closure of civil space, strong social norms of shame etc.)
There are many dimensions to accountability that may be explored, a few examples could include:
1. Accountability on a Discourse Level
How is sexual harassment talked about: What myths are perpetuated? What kind of power dynamics can be inferred? The complexity of these dynamics is avoiding essentialist descriptions of power relations, i.e. hypermasculine male, victim woman. How do we recognise the embedded deep structures of gender inequality and power over relationships without negating people’s agency?
2. The Ethics of Accountability
Naming and shaming has always been a core dimension of accountability but there is also moral accountability: how do we prevent the political appropriation of naming and shaming to crush opponents and enemies in political struggles that have nothing to do with addressing sexual harassment?
3. Accountability via the Law
How enabling are the institutional claims-making paths of accountability? What does answerability look like? What does enforcement look like from a legal perspective?
4. Institutional Accountability
Beyond accountability for individual acts of infringement, what would institutional accountability look like in terms of creating an enabling culture that protects against abuse of power along a number of axis (gender, race, class, age etc.)

These are just a few, however, and we look forward to submissions of what accountability looks like in diverse contexts and the issues it raises.
The IDS Bulletin is an open access, peer-review journal and is one of the most widely read international development journals. This issue will come out in early 2019 and we would seek to promote it through IDS’ extensive research uptake networks and as part of international women’s day activities and via the Commission on the Status of Women’s event in March.
In this call for papers we are seeking articles of approximately 5,000 words long which engage with the issue of what accountability for addressing sexual harassment looks like. We would welcome contributions from across the world, but our focus in particular is on difficult to work in settings (e.g. high volatility, unpredictability, closure of civil space, strong social norms of shame).
Please email Mariz Tadros and Jenny Edwards ( and with your expression of interest and a short abstract of your proposed article (up to 150 words) by Friday 1 June 2018. We will respond to you by Tuesday 12 June 2018.
If your abstract is accepted for the special issue, the deadline for submission of final draft of the paper is Friday 31 August 2018.