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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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Ongoing Struggle for Land Entitlement

Ongoing Struggle for Land Entitlement

Vettriyur Village

(p.136) 4 Ongoing Struggle for Land Entitlement
Human Rights as Practice

Jayshree P. Mangubhai

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses a semi-feudal context marked by an informal governance system controlled by a dominant caste community. Dalit women cultivators here are engaged in an on-going struggle to secure agricultural land title. The struggle demonstrates the interaction between formal and informal institutions, which produces competing notions of rights, entitlements, and obligations. In particular, informal power holders seek to preserve patronage relations within a shifting socio-political context by influencing state entitlement arrangements. This creates distinct strategic pathways for Dalit women to secure entitlements: they turn to state institutions in order to advance their claims while simultaneously delinking from informal institutions. An analysis of the organisational and collective action strategies in this adverse environment indicates the ways in which women negotiate multiple layers of relations and interactions in claiming value-laden resources such as land. In order to do this, external brokerage is necessary to overcome the women’s knowledge/power limitations.

Keywords:   land rights, nādu system, informal institutions, entitlements, patronage relations, power, agency, Dalit women, collective action

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