Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Book on 'Rights and Legal Empowerment in Eradicating Poverty'

Edited by Dan Banik of the University of Oslo, these essays give good arguments for the link between empowerment and poverty, and provide some useful case studies. At more the $100, it is a bit of of reach for most, but you can read excepts of the book online. Official description and links follows: 

How best to improve the position of the world's poorest people remains one of the major issues facing the human species. Empowering the poor requires more than simply a transfer of resources; it entails the creation of sound legal and political frameworks which specifically address the needs of the poor and vulnerable and hold political and administrative leaders accountable for policy failures.

This book investigates the role that legal empowerment and rights (including human rights) can play in tackling poverty and enabling poor people in developing countries to take action to improve their positions. Original in focus, the book provides new information and knowledge and presents informative and useful case studies on sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Contents: Introduction, Dan Banik; Part 1 Conceptual Issues and Challenges: Rights, legal empowerment and poverty: an overview of the issues, Dan Banik; The political economy of legal empowerment of the poor, Arjun Sengupta; Legal empowerment as a new concept in development: translating good ideas into action, Mona Elisabeth Br√łther. Part 2 Promoting Access to Justice in Developing Countries: Constitutionalism in an insurgent state? Rethinking legal empowerment of the poor in a divided Bolivia, John-Andrew McNeish; Rural poverty, legal activism and development in rural China, Susanne Brandtst√§dter; The access to justice challenge in Uganda, Donald Rukare; Legal empowerment and the right to food, Marc J. Cohen and Mary Ashby Brown. Part 3 Formalisation of Property Rights Revisited: Are Africans culturally unsuited to property rights and the rule of law? Some reflections based on the Tanzanian case, Hernando de Soto; Formalisation of land and housing tenure to empower the poor: simple nostrum or complex challenge?, Edward Robbins; The challenges of promoting legal empowerment in developing countries: women’s land ownership and inheritance rights in Malawi, Asiyati Lorraine Chiweza; 'Not on our land!' Peasants' struggle against forced land acquisition in India's West Bengal, Kenneth Nielsen; Index.

About the Editor: Dan Banik is an Associate Professor of Development Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway.

Reviews: '…offers context-specific and theoretical insights regarding the difficult task ahead.'
Francis Cheneval, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, UK

'Empowering the poor through access to justice, property rights, labour rights and the charter of rights that promote business enterprise is the sustainable way to tackle poverty. It is the missing link which is well identified in this timely publication'.
Mary Robinson, Columbia University, USA, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002)

'This book is a welcome contribution to our understanding of poverty reduction and is especially valuable in elucidating – through masterly theoretical reflection and timely case studies – what the editor correctly characterizes as a "relatively new and alternative development paradigm," namely, the legal empowerment of the poor (LEP). It has the added advantage of introducing into the analysis the explicit reference to the operational linkages between human rights-based development and LEP. Students and practitioners of development and human rights will find in this book essential reading on this important and promising dimension of the struggle against world poverty'.
Stephen P. Marks, Harvard School of Public Health, USA

'Legal empowerment of the poor represents a promising alternative to the problematic, top-down approaches that many donor agencies and governments have adopted for advancing the rule of law. In this trailblazing book, Dan Banik and his fellow authors usefully analyze this emerging approach and related efforts to improve access to justice across the globe. It is highly worthwhile reading for academics, policymakers and development practitioners aiming to integrate justice and development. Of particular note, the book will be of interest not only to lawyers but to many socioeconomic development experts seeking to explore and expand the relationship between justice and poverty alleviation.'
Stephen Golub, University of California, Berkeley, USA and Central European University (Budapest), Hungary

'This book offers a helpful guide to a contemporary leitmotif in the international development agenda and its associated methodologies: 'legal empowerment of the poor'. The promise of this concept is no less than a new model of development.' International Affairs

Visit Dan Banik's personal webpages

Extracts from this title are available to view:

Full contents list

Introduction

Index

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