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Human Rights as PracticeDalit Women Securing Livelihood Entitlements in South India$
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Jayshree P. Mangubhai

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198095453

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198095453.001.0001

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Asserting the Right to Adequate Housing

Asserting the Right to Adequate Housing

Kovilur Village

(p.94) 3 Asserting the Right to Adequate Housing
Human Rights as Practice

Jayshree P. Mangubhai

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a successful struggle by Dalit women to secure housing entitlements in a general mixed-caste context. It shows how these women’s perspectives and agency, informed by structural conditions of disentitlement, are reshaped by external development interventions organizing these women to secure livelihood entitlements. This is achieved by introducing new knowledge and discourses that disturb dominant, disempowering discourses and thus transform the women’s understandings of entitlements and agency. The spaces created by exclusion then facilitate their collective action. Equally important as these struggles for material resources are struggles for symbolic resources and recognition that enable Dalit women to construct a positive collective identity and interests. Nonetheless, successful acquisition of livelihood entitlements does not necessarily end the process of dislodging gender inequalities embedded in social customs surrounding control over those resources.

Keywords:   housing rights, entitlements, power, agency, religious rights, social exclusion, gender inequalities, Dalit women, collective action

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