Interlocution is the process of changing the ‘rules of the game’ so that power imbalances are addressed and the resulting state-society relations deliver better development outcomes. ‘Interlocutors’ are the organisations or individuals with the ‘game-changing’ characteristics that are necessary for addressing, or contributing to addressing, the prevalent collective-action problem. The kind of collective-action problem justifies the necessary ‘game-changing’ characteristics, and hence it also means that we cannot claim on any organisation (e.g. media, civil society organisation etc) as an interlocutor away from the context in question.
The research agenda is to analytically explore ‘interlocution’ and ‘interlocutors’ so that we can develop a methodology that can help identify which external actions and actors are necessary for enhancing or the local processes of finding solutions to collective-action problems in given contexts.
This process is also useful for helping those actors that are already intervening in particular ways to do two things:
- To identify which actions are most useful for change within the prevailing contextual dynamics
- To decide on which other actors to bring in to help the change process because they possess characteristics that are most needed for enhancing change processes. The goal will be to provide external support in a way that builds, rather than erodes strategies that work.