The Politics of Rights

Dilemmas for Feminist Praxis

Edited by Andrea Cornwall, Maxine Molyneux

© 2008 – Routledge

184 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415459068
pub: 2007-10-11
US Dollars$51.95
Hardback: 9780415437721
pub: 2007-10-18
US Dollars$170.00

About the Book

Since the late 1990s, development institutions have increasingly used the language of rights in their policy and practice. This special issue on feminist perspectives on politics of rights explores the strategies, tensions and challenges associated with ‘rights work’ in a variety of settings.

Articles on the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, East and South Asia explore the dilemmas that arise for feminist praxis in these diverse locations, and address the question of what rights can contribute to struggles for gender justice. Exploring the intersection of formal rights – whether international human rights conventions, constitutional rights or national legislation – with the everyday realities of women in settings characterized by entrenched gender inequalities and poverty, plural legal systems and cultural norms that can constitute formidable obstacles to realizing rights. The contributors suggest that these sites of struggle can create new possibilities and meanings – and a politics of rights animated by demands for social and gender justice.

Table of Contents

The Politics of Rights – Dilemmas for Feminist Praxis: An Introduction. Ruling out Gender Equality? The Post-Cold War Rule of Law Agenda in Sub-Saharan Africa. Constitutional Engineering: What Opportunities for the Enhancement of Gender Rights? Islamic Politics, Human Rights and Women’s Claims for Equality in Iran. Legacies of Common Law: ‘Crimes of Honour’ in India and Pakistan. Hindu Women’s Property Rights in India: A Critical Appraisal. Accessing Economic and Social Rights under Neoliberalism: Gender and Rights in Chile. From the Girl Child to Girls’ Rights. Revisiting Equality as a Right: The Minimum Age of Marriage Clause in the Nigerian Child Right Act, 2003. Rights and Realities: Limits to Women’s Rights and Citizenship after 10 Years of Democracy in South Africa. Is the Rights Focus the Right Focus? Nicaraguan Responses to the Rights Agenda

About the Series


THIRDWORLDS will focus on the political economy, development and cultures of those parts of the world that have experienced the most political, social, and economic upheaval, and which have faced the greatest challenges of the postcolonial world under globalisation: poverty, displacement and diaspora, environmental degradation, human and civil rights abuses, war, hunger, and disease.

THIRDWORLDS serves as a signifier of oppositional emerging economies and cultures ranging from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and even those ‘Souths’ within a larger perceived North, such as the U.S. South and Mediterranean Europe. The study of these otherwise disparate and discontinuous areas, known collectively as the Global South, demonstrates that as globalisation pervades the planet, the south, as a synonym for subalterity, also transcends geographical and ideological frontiers.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Civil Rights