Angel Gabriel Cabrera Silva, SJD Candidate, Harvard Law School:
Infiltrating the State: Social Movements and the Transformative Politics of Economic and Social Rights
My dissertation explores the role that Economic and Social Rights (ESR) mobilization has in processes of institutional transformation. Most specifically, it theorizes the role of ESR strategies after a social movement infiltrates the State. This dynamic of infiltration will complement theories that conceive ESRs as tools to “judicialize”, “deliberate” or “vernacularize” a movement’s claims. Drawing from Bourdieu’s fields theory, I argue that ESR function as a particular form of juridical capital that enables social actors to go in and out the State to assume two particular subject-positions: “governing activists” (activists with bureaucratic roles) and “sympathetic bureaucrats” (officials willing to break institutional inertias). My dissertation conceptualizes the interactions between these two subject-positions as driving factors within processes of institutional transformation. The project is grounded on sixteen months of fieldwork in Mexico, during which I followed indigenous activists that assumed bureaucratic roles in “Community Councils”, new local government bodies created through mobilization.
Emily Kathryn Linnemeier, PhD Candidate, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict, George Mason University:
Building Egalitarian and Equitable Schools through Youth Participatory Action Research
This dissertation research consists of using and documenting the process of youth participatory action research (YPAR) to address the social right of education, specifically, as it relates to equity, in a United States high school setting. I’m working with a coresearcher team of students and educators from a socioeconomically, racially and home language diverse suburban school to analyze and address a co-determined issue around equity and the school culture. This research looks at how both the outcomes and the process of YPAR may lead to strengthening of the social right of educational equity on a specific high school campus. Therefore, not only is the research focused on ways to exercise the social right of equitable education, the study also utilizes a methodology that allows people who should receive that right to engage in a collaborative process to determine what it looks like.
Madri Hall-Faul, PhD Candidate, School of Social Work, University of Connecticut:
The Role of the Devolved Policy Implementation in Social and Economic Rights Fulfillment: The Case of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in Connecticut
The devolved model of social welfare policy in the United States leads to inequality in benefit access and adequacy, as exemplified by the implementation of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This inequality between states has been studied extensively, but has not been analyzed in depth as a violation of social and economic rights of families in poverty. My dissertation will examine how this inequality is created in one state through a case study of TANF in Connecticut. Using a framework of participation, nondiscrimination, equality, human dignity, transparency, accountability, and adequacy, I will evaluate TANF and its impact on social and economic rights in Connecticut. I will conduct interviews with decision-makers and advocates, and review budgets and public documents. This dissertation will contribute a human rights-based analysis of TANF to social welfare policy literature and provides a novel focus on public administration decision-making, which is limited in social work literature.