Bodily rights and collective claims: the work of legal activists in interpreting reproductive and maternal rights in India

Heitmeyer, Carolyn and Unnithan, Maya (2015) Bodily rights and collective claims: the work of legal activists in interpreting reproductive and maternal rights in India. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 21 (2). pp. 374-390. ISSN 1467-9655

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This article engages with anthropological approaches to the study of global human rights discourses around reproductive and maternal health in India. Whether couched in the language of human rights or of other social justice frameworks, different forms of claims-making in India exist in tandem and correspond to particular traditions of activism and struggle. Universal reproductive rights language remains a discourse aimed at the state in India, where the primary purpose is to demand greater accountability in the domain of policy and governance. Outside of these spheres, other languages are strategically chosen by activists for their greater resonance in addressing individual cases of women claiming reproductive violence within the context of the family as well as localized histories of feminist struggle and social justice. In focusing on the work of legal activists and the discourses which inform their interventions, this article seeks to understand how the language of reproductive rights is used in the context of India, not as a `Western import' which is adapted to local contexts, but rather as one of multiple frameworks of claims-making drawn upon by legal activists emerging from distinct histories of struggle for gender equality and social justice.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN049 Physical anthropology. Somatology > GN296 Medical anthropology
Depositing User: Jayne Paulin
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2015 11:14
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 20:07

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Realising Global Rights to Health: An ethnographic analysis of rights-based organisations in promoting reproductive health in IndiaG0394ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILRES-062-23-1609