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Developmentalism, gender and rights: from a politics of origins to a politics of meanings

Madhok, Sumi ORCID: 0000-0002-3192-6098 (2015) Developmentalism, gender and rights: from a politics of origins to a politics of meanings. In: Drydyk, Jay and Peetush, Ashwani, (eds.) Human Rights: India and the West. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India. ISBN 9780199453528

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Identification Number: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199453528.001.0001


In this paper, I argue for a refusal of the ‘politics of origins’ framework that dominates human rights talk and towards one that privileges a ‘politics of meanings’. Drawing on my ethnographic work on the rights encounter with developmentalism and rights in rural Rajasthan, I present a few elements of this shift towards a ‘politics of meanings’ and introduce a new conceptual framework, one of vernacular rights cultures, which I suggest will help us to conceptually capture the dynamic politics of rights and entitlements in the Southern Asia. As a conceptual intervention, thinking in terms of ‘ politics of meanings’ and indeed in terms of ‘vernacular rights cultures’, I argue, will help us move beyond the tired arguments of eurocentrism, cultural relativism or celebratory universalism that can no longer adequately capture the dynamism of the citizenship claims that are increasingly voiced and struggled for. The experiences of making rights claims and entitlements that I document are like all experiences and phenomena gendered, and provide insights into a fascinating set of paradoxes, disappointments and despair: the attachment of rights to privileged gendered bodies while being desired and claimed, contested and fought for by the marginalized, the precarious and the powerless.

Item Type: Book Section
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Additional Information: © 2015 Oxford University Press
Divisions: Gender Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2016 11:27
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2023 14:23

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