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Public Hearings as Social Performance: Addressing the Courts, Restoring Citizenship

Abstract : Since the late 1990s, major claims addressed to the Indian state by, or on behalf of, the underprivileged, have been formulated in terms of rights (right to work, to food, etc.). Collective action increasingly addresses the courts as much as governments or legislative assemblies. This paper aims to show, through an analysis of public hearings (jan sunwai in Hindi), that such “legalism” of Indian progressive social movements is at work not only in the language, but also in the form of mobilizations. In order to interpret public hearings as social performance, I compare them with two modes of judiciary intervention that depart from the ordinary—the PIL in India, Truth commissions in other countries—and thereby highlight a series of affinities, both substantive and procedural, between the three dispositives. This interpretive analysis points at the deep originality of public hearings as a form of collective action, and at their political significance insofar as they can, in the best of cases, restore citizenship.
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Contributor : Stéphanie Tawa Lama <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 5:24:52 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 3:28:38 AM

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Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal. Public Hearings as Social Performance: Addressing the Courts, Restoring Citizenship. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, Association pour la recherche sur l'Asie du Sud, 2018, ⟨10.4000/samaj.4413⟩. ⟨halshs-02972967⟩



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