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Title: Spectacles of emancipation: reading rights differently in India's legal discourse
Authors: Sircar, Oishik
Keywords: Civil rights
Issue Date: 31-Dec-2012
Publisher: Osgoode Hall Law School
Citation: Sircar, Oishik. (2012). Spectacles of emancipation: reading rights differently in India's legal discourse. Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Vol. 49 No. 3: 527-573.
Abstract: How does neo-liberalism change the way we understand rights, law, and justice? With postcolonial and post-liberalization India as its focal point, this article attempts to disrupt the linear, progressive equation that holds that more laws equals more rights equals more justice. This is an equation that has informed and been informed by fundamental rights jurisprudence and law reform, the enactment of legislation to guarantee socio-economic rights, and many of the strategies of social movement activism in contemporary India. This article argues that while these developments have indeed proliferated a public culture of rights, they have simultaneously been accompanied by the militarization of the state and the privatization of state accountability. The result is a cruel paradox in which rights operate as spectacles that make the poor and the disadvantaged continue to repose faith in their emancipatory potential while the managerial and militarized state uses these spectacles to normalize its monopoly over violence. By looking at selected literary, legal, popular, and subaltern texts, the article proposes a radical reimagination of emancipation that is not trapped in the liberal narrative of rights, but rather is embedded in and embodied by the everyday and ordinary struggles of the poor.
ISSN: 0030-6185
Appears in Collections:JGU Research Publications

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