'Development is a process, Amartya Sen famously noted, of 'expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy'. But freedoms depend upon on political and civil rights, or more properly a corpus of rights capable of removing such unfreedoms as tyranny, exclusion and neglect. Rights, Resources and the Politics of Accountability is the first study to seriously explore how the poor claim, contest and secure rights and how the rights of the powerful are deployed to defend their privileges, and to control resources and access to power. Drawing upon exemplary case studies - spanning the globe from Mexico to Nigeria to India to the US - Newell and Wheeler have laid out a provocative new agenda for thinking about not simply the existence of a discourse of rights in development, but struggles over their character and institutionalisation, and the competing forms and mechanisms of accountability by which the poor can improve their well-being. A state-of-the-art book: theoretically rich, empirically compelling and irresistibly forward-looking.'
Michael Watts, Director of African Studies, UC Berkeley
'This book is fascinating not only because it puts accountability at the centre of the debate between rights and access to resources and questions some inherently flawed assumptions about accountability oft repeated by today's development pundits, it is fascinating because it tells stories about how poor and marginalized come together to negotiate and claim their rights to resources from the rich and the powerful.'
Chandra Bhushan, Head, Industry & Environment Centre and Associate Director of Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi.
'The chapters in this book weave together quite fluidly and there is plenty of useful cross-referencing and a though-provoking conclusion. Particularly useful in this volume is the extended introductory essay which sets out the social actors, strategies, rights and resources involved in each chapter. This kind of overview is very useful for teaching. Most chapters are well argued and convincing...At its best, this volume achieves a true synthesis of theory and practice and manages to broaden and deepen the debate on rights in relation to accountability processes.'
Helen Hintjens, Institute of Social Studies