, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 137-165
Date: 10 May 2007

Identities in reconstruction: from rights of recognition to reflection in post-disaster reconstruction processes

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Abstract

This article examines the role of rights in both governing and shaping women’s relationship with the reconstruction process and their position in the reconstructed society. Through four years of empirical research in the post-earthquake reconstruction process in Maharashtra, India, this article focuses upon how women’s rights in social reconstruction are contingent upon processes of recognition. From the United Nations to local women’s organising, the article considers how women’s rights to “determine the pattern of their lives and the future of society” (United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (C.E.D.A.W.). General Recommendation No. 23 (1997), Article 7, para. 9.) are dependent upon processes of recognition. Through a critique of cultural, material and spatial acts and frameworks of recognition within the U.N., World Bank, State Government, public interest litigation, personal and nonformal law, rights are seen to actively and hierarchically construct either a modern, liberal subject or a religious, communitarian subject, which both either deny or prescribe agency. The experience of women’s organising reveals the possibility of reconstructing a feminist rights strategy of reflection.