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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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Uneven Political Economics of an Entitlement Struggle

Uneven Political Economics of an Entitlement Struggle

Mallibakkam Village

(p.175) 5 Uneven Political Economics of an Entitlement Struggle
Human Rights as Practice

Jayshree P. Mangubhai

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines an unsuccessful struggle undertaken by Dalit fisherwomen to protect their existing entitlements to traditional fishing work, good health, and decent living standards by stopping the operation of a shrimp farm in their coastal village. It shows how these women’s collective strategies are not only continuously (re)shaped by their encounters with state and non-state actors, but also play out on an unequal political and economic terrain. Their relative lack of power and economic resources obstructs their ability to protect their meagre entitlements when these entitlements conflict with the state’s macro-economic policies. The disjuncture between state laws/policies and state practices, especially corruption, ingrains Dalit women’s exclusion and social inequalities in new ways. Concurrently, multiple interventions by NGO development brokers generate shifting entitlement discourses among the women, with consequences for the meanings women attribute to collective action.

Keywords:   work rights, health rights, right to decent living standards, shrimp farming, economic policy, corruption, entitlements, power, agency, Dalit women, collective action

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