Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationLondon School of Economics
Grant numberGr. 9367
Approve DateOctober 7, 2016
Project TitleFuchs, Sandhya I., London School of Economics, London, UK - To aid research on 'The Language of Change: Dalit Voices and Institutional Actors and in the Indian Legal Landscape,' supervised by Dr. Alpa Shah
SANDHYA I. FUCHS, then a graduate student at London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2016 to aid research on ‘The Language of Change: Dalit Voices and Institutional Actors and in the Indian Legal Landscape,’ supervised by Dr. Alpa Shah. This thesis explores how legal social protection measures like the 1989 Prevention of Atrocities Act (PoA) in India interact with, and shape, the lives of the communities they aim to assist. Focusing on acts of severe physical caste-based violence against Dalits in Rajasthan, the study investigatew how local notions of violence, fairness and order converse with the formal conceptions of equality, ‘atrocity,’ and justice outlined in Indian state law. This work aims to understand to what extent, and under what circumstances, the PoA comes to represent a meaningful avenue of justice for Dalit victims of violence. In an attempt to consider law an agency-bearing entity that simultaneously enacts and counteracts violence, this study tries to understand policy and law as multi-faceted, multi-functioning and organically evolving phenomena. The social life and effects of such laws can be, both, ethically problematic and societally beneficial at different times and for different actors. The research asks how legal frameworks speak on behalf of those who seek their protection and what is emphasized or lost in this process. Finally, the grantee is concerned with the impact of legal approaches on struggles for equality. What does it mean to relocate the Dalit movement to the arena of law?