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Dugard, Jackie

Dugard, Jackie

NIAS Theme Group

Legal mobilization to challenge water apartheid: A comparison of the case of Soweto in South Africa with the (related) cases of Detroit and Flint in the United States of America (USA)

Research Question

My research question examines the extent to which the right to water (as framed in law or even aspirationally) has been used to frame and claim struggles over water issues in two highly racialized contexts, one with entrenched water rights (South Africa) and one without (USA).

Project Description

The human rights paradigm has been criticized for being incapable of dealing with structural disadvantage, including race. At the same time, in the light of rising inequality and increasing threats to social and environmental security, the struggle to recognize and claim human rights, such as the right to water, persists. Against this backdrop, I propose to undertake a comparative analysis of the uptake, nature, content and effects of legal mobilization to challenge grave water-related violations in two racialized contexts – South Africa and the USA.

Selected Publications

1) J Dugard (2019) “Forging Space for Pro-Poor change: The use of Strategic Litigation by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) to Advance Equality”, 52(2) Verfassung und Recht in Ubersee (VRU)/ World Comparative Law (WCL) pp 132-155

2) J Dugard (2011) ‘Choice from No Choice – Rights for the Left?: State, Law and the Struggle Against Prepayment Water Meters in South Africa’, in A Nilsen and S Motta (eds) Social Movements and/in the Postcolonial: Dispossession, Development and Resistance in the Global South (Palgrave Macmillan)

3) J Dugard and E Koek (2015) “Water wars: Anti-Privatization struggles in the Global South” in S Alam, S Atapattu, C Gonzalez and J Razzaque (eds) International Environmental Law and the Global South (Cambridge University Press)


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