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A New Path to Welfare: Rights and Constitutionalism in the Global South

The rise of neoliberalism caused a ‘lost decade’ of development in large parts of the global South. Yet it simultaneously compelled rights activists to protect welfare entitlements in many countries. Moreover, they often employed the language of constitutionalism and citizenship, engaging the law and the courts, to incorporate historically excluded workers.
What explains the growth of these rights-based campaigns to expand social welfare, and the historically novel role of courts and constitutionalism in these struggles, over these decades? How are rights conceptualized, justified and pursued in their moral imaginaries, legal arguments and political strategies? Why have many of them demanded greater political transparency, responsiveness and accountability? What reforms have various rights campaigns won? Finally, where have such efforts been ineffective, and why?
The emergence of rights-based constitutionalism in the 1980s represents an historically innovative path to expand social welfare and political accountability in the global South. Yet the persistence of corruption and growing economic inequalities reveals its faultlines and limitations.
My book project, provisionally titled A New Path to Welfare: Rights and Constitutionalism in the Global South, seeks to explain the genesis, trajectory and ramifications of these novel historical developments in India vis-à-vis China, South Africa and Brazil.


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Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].