The common assumption that transparency and participation mechanistically generate accountability is too simplistic. The TAP nexus is embedded in specific contexts which shape the opportunities and constraints for advancing public accountability. Relations between the different actors involved cannot be isolated from power dynamics and interests, and from the complex social and political relations that characterize accountability in specific settings.
Some critical questions to understand the TAP nexus:
- What kind of transparency can lead to citizen engagement? The quality and actionability of the information, and the dissemination channels that encourage collective action.
- Under what conditions? The contextual conditions that shape and constrain citizen and state action. TAP reflects different configurations of power and resources.
- What kind of participation? The diversity of agents (on the state and citizen sides) that engage and participate in different forms.
- What kind of accountability? Mapping the system of actors, institutions, mechanisms and processes (and their accessibility) that ensure answerability, redress and sanctions.