ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Urban Commons

From an understanding of the commons as a rural artefact, the concept has expanded to include urban spaces and practices. The destruction of common resources and the communities that depend upon them is a long-standing outcome of capitalist expansion. It is also a cause for concern, given the ultimate centrality of the commons to the reproduction of urban populations and ecosystems.

Hunters, Gatherers and Foragers in a Metropolis: Commonising the Private and Public in Mumbai

Mumbai is in reality a city of places that are not a part of the current set of fantasies that rule the minds of urban planners but are yet integrally linked to capitalist processes, to urban practices of place-making and to urbanism itself. From this perspective, this enquiry seeks not only to better understand and explain the processes that are forcing out the city's less privileged from its commons, but also imagine how a more inclusive future could be achieved.

Planning as Commoning: Transformation of a Bangalore Lake

The transformation of human settlements over time can affect the relationship between communities and commons when, for example, social geographies change from rural to urban, or from traditional systems of management to modern bureaucratic systems. Communities that were dependent on particular commons could become less dependent, or abandon those commons. New communities of interest might emerge. Examining the transformation of a lake in Bangalore, this paper argues that in the community struggle towards creating and claiming commons, claiming the sphere of planning is fundamental. Further, the making or unmaking of the commons involves the making or unmaking of communities and vice versa. In the case of the Rajapalaya Lake studied here, this occurred and occurs at the interface where democratic struggles and bureaucratic systems meet.

Western Intellectual Imperialism in Malaysian Legal Education

An over-reliance on Western knowledge paradigms and the exclusion of traditional knowledge and indigenous cultures characterises legal education in Malaysia. The same could be said of education in most Asian and African universities. This paper holds that such educational enslavement must end and that genuine globalisation demands that we be open to the best from East and West. It argues that our very survival could hinge on resisting today's Western intellectual imperialism and embarking on a voyage of discovery of our ancestors' intellectual wanderings.

Teaching Social Theory as Alternative Discourse

The social sciences are taught in the developing world in a Eurocentric manner. This has contributed to the alienation of social scientists from local and regional scholarly traditions. Further, courses in sociology and the other social sciences generally do not attempt to correct the Orientalist bias by introducing non-western thinkers. This paper highlights the contributions of Filipino thinker and activist José Rizal and draws attention to a course that used the theme of Eurocentrism to provide a critical stance from which to understand the discipline of sociology.

World History and Its Polit

World history as we have it now is the pertinent form of knowledge for our times, taking its place besides other dubious labels such as multiculturalism, globalisation, multilateralism, and the new world order. This paper points out that it is in various ways one of the 21st century's pre-eminent forms of colonising knowledge - and all the more insidious in that it appears to be as benign and ecumenical an enterprise as one can imagine. An integrated history of one world sounds appealing, but we need to have a conception of many worlds, not just one world from the viewpoint of western exceptionalism.

Small Loans, Big Dreams: Women and Microcredit in a Globalising Economy

The belief in the credit-based collective model has failed to explore the impact of microcredit beyond its immediate project environment and how resources are politically invested by the groups in a given sociocultural context. There is an inadequate understanding as to how the discourse on empowerment through microcredit is framed by different actors and what the trade-offs are between different dimensions of empowerment. Limited attention is paid to the role of various institutions - local and national - on microcredit and women's empowerment.

Informed by Gender? Public Policy in Kerala

While conventional indicators in Kerala that measure the status of women such as literacy, life expectancy, sex ratio, average age of marriage, infant mortality, and maternal mortality are mostly favourable, women have not fared well in the state in terms of non-conventional indicators such as gender-based violence, mental health, and the incidence of suicides. This paper attempts to take a critical look at the much-acclaimed status indicators for women in Kerala and reflects on the work of the Mahila Samakhya Programme as an illustration of public policy focused on women.

Reproductive Rights and Exclusionary Wrongs: Maternity Benefits

Women contribute to the economy with their unpaid labour as well as social reproduction work but maternity protection in India is sector-specific and employer-employee centric. It thus leaves out the large majority of women in the unorganised sector. A new scheme such as the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana which is being piloted in 52 districts implicitly recognises the need to compensate for wage loss due to maternity and provide support for the mother and child's nutrition. However, a series of exclusionary clauses mar the objectives of the scheme. This paper attempts to demonstrate the misguided "targeting" of this scheme. The Planning Commission is preparing to scale it up at the national level in the Twelfth Plan, perhaps with the same set of incentives and disincentives as are currently spelt out in the pilot phase document. The data clearly shows that if these exclusionary clauses remain they will "victimise the victim".

Subverting Policy, Surviving Poverty: Women and the SGSY in Rural Tamil Nadu

The Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana was launched as an integrated programme for self-employment of the rural poor. Being a targeted anti-poverty intervention, the sgsy prescribes quotas for women (40%) among the eligible poor and also mandates that 50% of self-help groups formed in an administrative block under the scheme be women's shgs. This essay, through the prism of the sgsy scheme, attempts to understand how policy seeks to "mainstream" rural women from low-income households into market-oriented economic activities that seemingly facilitate a linear movement out of poverty. It examines how women themselves perceive the sgsy policy and the entrepreneurial identities it proposes they assume, and how selected women swarozgaris strive to engineer a fit between the imperatives of policy and their divergent life circumstances.

Women and Pro-Poor Policies in Rural Tamil Nadu: An Examination of Practices and Responses

Using a village in Tamil Nadu as a case study, this article examines the initial response to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme on the ground, the reasons behind the low participation, and its subsequent reworking to make it not just viable but also "successful". As conceived, the transformatory potential of nrega is limited. When operationalised in letter and spirit, such programmes may alleviate poverty, and to that extent empower women, but cannot transform our rural economies that are characterised by low growth, poor investments in infrastructure and limited generation of growth-led decent employment.

Addressing Paid Domestic Work: A Public Policy Concern

While domestic workers are covered by the legislative framework in many countries, in India they stand excluded from national legislations that deal with minimum wages, dispute settlement, conditions of work, social security and workplace injuries. This study draws upon the findings of a research project of the National Domestic Workers Movement that was conducted between February 2010 and February 2011. It sets out the definition of domestic work as a conceptual issue that is necessary for understanding domestic work and explores the constitutional and employment law framework and the challenges in legislating for this sector. It concludes with exploring ways of reducing the gap between law and practice.

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