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B. Rajeshwari

margit van wessel

B. Rajeshwari is assistant professor at Goenka University, Gurgaon, India. She holds a doctorate in political science from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. In the past, she has worked on post-riot judicial inquiry commissions in India and her study ‘Feminist Perspectives on post-riot judicial inquiry commissions’ was published in special issue of Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs (JASIA, 2018), titled, Gender, Security and Conflict in South Asia.  Her research interests include gender studies, civil society, inter-religious conflict and post-conflict justice mechanisms. 

In the Civil Society Dynamics project, B. Rajeshwari’s work looks at two aspects of collaboration – 1) Complementarity in collaboration for sex workers’ rights and 2) autonomy and capacity development

She studied a network collaboration on sex workers’ rights in India exploring the roles played by different civil society actors in representing the sex workers. We found that the sex workers in India are a fairly organized group, advocating for their rights in multiple ways. The representation of their rights within the network happens through a range of organizations that play different complementary roles in representing the group. 

The second aspect of my research was a study on autonomy in capacity development partnership between a transnational organization and its seven partners in India. We wanted to study if the tension between capacity development and autonomy can be addressed. We show how the program advanced elected women representatives’  narrative autonomy through informal relationships that undergird the formal capacity development, while the formal training helped to provide a language for constructing these narratives and the context for advancing autonomous action true to these narratives. By redefining the relationship between autonomy and capacity development, we move the theoretical debate on this tension beyond problematizing the aid-dependency power relations that are often seen in capacity development programs, and provide a way forward for practice.

Recent key open access publications


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We are the Civil Society Research Collective (CSRC), a group of academic researchers from the USA, India and the Netherlands.