Hertel Publishes “Hungry for Justice”

Prof. Shareen Hertel (POLS) has a forthcoming article, entitled: “Hungry for Justice: Social Mobilization on the Right to Food in India.” It will appear in Development & Change. Congratulations!

Abstract: This article explores the potential and limits of contemporary economic
rights-based social activism by analysing an ongoing “Right to Food
Campaign” in India. While social movement theory often positions radical
and reform strategies as alternatives, the RTF campaign has adopted a
hybrid strategy: it has made a radical legal demand that the right to food
be recognized as intrinsic to the right to life, while seeking implementation
of this right through reform of existing Government feeding programs. The
campaign’s dual strategy reflects two distinct logics of human rights: a
logic of non-derogable rights that are immediately actionable (such as the
right to life) and a logic of progressive implementation of rights that can
only be realized fully over time (such as economic rights). The paper draws
on original data (ie, field interviews, a legal events dataset, and a media
events dataset) to demonstrate that the campaign’s radical legal demands
framed around the non-derogable right to life have been better fulfilled
than its reformist ones around progressive implementation. The RTF
campaign’s relative success in galvanizing legal action on hunger is
tempered by ongoing challenges in sustaining grassroots-level mobilization
and influencing public policy implementation.

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