Norm Entrepreneurship on Caste-Based Discrimination

Date: 
June 10, 2013 - 16:00
Building: 
Nador u. 13
Room: 
Room 001
Event type: 
Event audience: 
Presenter(s): 
Dr Corinne Lennox
Organizer(s): 
South and South-east Asian Studies Group
CEU host unit(s): 
Department of Legal Studies

In a process that has spanned nearly three decades, representatives of caste-affected groups have worked to bring international attention to the plight of their communities as a means of putting pressure on caste-affected states for domestic reform. They have done so by building transnational social mobilisation and by using political opportunity structures available at the international level.  This paper will show how caste-affected groups and their allies have secured international recognition of their concerns and institutionalized new norms for state behaviour by using a sound “adjacency” (Finnemore and Sikkink 1998) strategy for norm emergence and building a strong transnational advocacy network (TAN) to facilitate this work. Their efforts have been met with opposition particularly from the Government of India, which has objected to international attention to this issue and the consideration of caste under the rubric of racism.  Nevertheless, the caste TAN has been assisted by several international actors. Two key allies will be given particular attention: the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).  Actors within these institutions have given certification to the new global identity frame of caste-affected groups and supported their claim that caste-based discrimination is prohibited in international law.  Finally, the future of norm entrepreneurship of the caste TAN will be considered using two key questions: 1. Are domestic political opportunities blocked in India?  2. How can the international sphere best serve domestic norm adherence objectives?

Dr Corinne Lennox is Lecturer in Human Rights at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London and Associate Director of the Human Rights Consortium at the School of Advanced Study. Her research interests include the human rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples, civil society mobilization and caste-based discrimination. She has been a consultant on minority rights for the UNDP, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues. She is a Trustee of the Dalit Solidarity Network-UK, a Visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex and is a member of the UK Network on Minority Groups and Human Rights. Dr Lennox has published widely including in the International Journal on Minority and Group Rights and the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights and is co-editor of the Handbook on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Routledge, 2013) and Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity in the Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change (Institute of Commonwealth Studies, 2013).

Chair: Sejal Parmar, Assistant Professor, Legal Studies Department

Discussant: Sanjay Kumar, Instructor, Center for Academic Writing

 

Chair: Sejal Parmar, Assistant Professor, Legal Studies Department

Discussant: Sanjay Kumar, Instructor, Center for Academic Writing

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