Author Heitmeyer, Carolyn
Article Title Bodily rights and collective claims: the work of legal activists in interpreting reproductive and maternal rights in India
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Source Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. vol. 21, no. 2 (Jun. 2015), p.374-390
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Journal Title Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
Copy vol. 21, no. 2 (Jun. 2015), p.374-390
ISSN 1359-0987
Co author Unnithan, Maya
Brief substance 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
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