Exclusion, Violence and Community Responses in Central American Cities

Why is it that urban communities characterised by similar conditions of social exclusion confront different levels of violence? This is the central question that this research project will explore in six intermediate and large-scale cities across Costa Rica (City of Heredia 2 sites, City of Limon) and El Salvador (City of San Salvador 2 sites and Sonsonate district). The central hypothesis that this project aims to test is whether the capacity of communities to initiate and sustain collective action makes a difference in the levels of violence experienced by various communities.

To do so, the project will employ a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the complex causal links that exist between exclusion, inequality and violence in these two Central American countries. The result will be evidence based recommendations for policy makers, practitioners and communities on whether and how strategies for collective action can be adapted to address violence, inequalities and poverty in Central America.

This project is part of the Safe and Inclusive Cities (SAIC) research initiative designed to build an evidence base on the connections between urban violence, poverty and inequalities. Jointly funded by IDRC and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DfID), this program also seeks to identify the most effective strategies for addressing these challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

This research will help GSJ deliver on its objective of supporting the creation of policy-relevant knowledge on the conditions for increasing the legitimacy and accountability of public authorities as well as contributing to global debates on the connection between violence, poverty and inequalities in fragile and conflict affected situations. By partnering with DfID, GSJ is also able to take the SAIC research program to scale by funding a critical mass of cutting edge and policy relevant research projects of which this is one.

The research involves potential risks associated with the subject of inquiry as well as the location of field research. In order to mitigate against these risks, project staff will develop comprehensive security and ethical protocols governing the research process. The fact that FLACSO is a consolidated and well regarded regional institution with a longstanding track of research excellence in the field of violence and poverty will also mitigate against this risk. Its field presence throughout Central America, understanding of the context, will also help ensure that research is conducted in a secure and ethical fashion.

Institutional coordinates:

Lead Institution
Facultad Latinoamericana de las Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Sede Costa Rica
200 metros sur, 25 este de Plaza del Sol
Curridabat, San José, Costa Rica CP 11474-1000
Tel (506) 2224-8059 / Fax (506) 2224-2638
dirección@flacso.or.cr / www.flacso.or.cr

Collaborating Institutions:
Facultad Latinoamericana de las Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Programa El Salvador
Novena calle poniente, número 3807, Colonia Escalón
San Salvador, El Salvador
Tel (503) 2245-1510 y (503) 2223-4360 / Fax (503) 2245-1511
dirección@flacso.org.sv / www.flacso.org.sv

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, December 21, 2012

End Date

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


28 months

IDRC Officer

Florencio Ceballos

Total funding

CA$ 498,000


Costa Rica, El Salvador, United Kingdom, South America, West Indies


Governance and Justice, Safe and Inclusive Cities

Project Leader

Juan Pablo Pérez Sáinz


Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales/Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences

Institution Country

Costa Rica

Institution Website