Design for an Educational Programme on Sustainability Rights


To develop an educational programme for training and awareness of existing rights available to marginalised communities in particular and others in general in the context of globalisation process.


Background to the Course

The neo-liberal model of globalisation vigorously promotes the rights of free trade and capital which brings it in direct conflict with basic tenets of universal human rights. There is a constant tension between the ‘social’ standing for democratic values and ‘economic’ for unhindered profit, trade and movement of capital at the peril of social. Although globalisation is a contested concept, it is nonetheless a process that affects everyone at many different levels. The process of globalisation in India commonly believed to have started in early 90s has witnessed a range of popular struggles against the process, which have contributed to the question of securing sustainability of socio-economic rights for marginalised communities. These struggles operate at various levels and involve almost all sections of civil society. However, young students, activists, researchers, and other professionals especially in cities somehow remain critically unconnected from these struggles and there is a need to forge linkages between them. These linkages would help broaden the base of these struggles and also raise awareness and thinking levels of these groups. The enhanced understanding amongst them of the globalisation processes and anti-globalisation struggles would strengthen the struggle for basic human rights for all. Failing to understand these dimensions may result in alienation, apathy which would impact the rights of marginalised communities in particular and society in general.


In such a scenario it becomes necessary to understand the key concepts of the globalisation process, its impact on various communities, notion of rights, justice, and development. The globalisation process itself has different meanings to different sections of populations, it has impacted them differently and we need to explore them critically.


It is to address these concerns that Calcutta Research Group (CRG) is to conduct a 4-5 days non-residential course on globalisation and sustainability of rights to be held in Kolkata during August 2005. The course is an outcome of ongoing work on study of state policies and practices with regard to globalisation process and sustainability of rights of marginalised communities in collaboration with human rights organisations working with the marginalised groups in India and across South Asia, activists, policy analysts, and individuals working on these themes. The course would be an opportunity to discuss the interpretation of rights prescribed and the antecedents found in international instruments, methodology for analysis of the rights and their status in the country including advocacy strategies, globalisation and the question of sustainability of rights and most importantly, transfer of knowledge which empower groups and people to define, plan and forge their development. The enhanced understanding amongst participants of the globalisation processes, strategies of anti-globalisation peoples struggles, key concepts of rights, justice, gender, peace, and development would strengthen the struggle for basic human rights for all. We believe that understanding the roots and implications of these processes is fundamental for individuals if they are to effectively shape their own lives and play a role in democratic processes to influence local and global agendas.



The course intends to serve these objectives:



The term ‘transnational literacy’ here means a reflexive engagement with development issues of which development consciousness is a part. As quoted by Vanessa Andreotti, It is a concept developed by the Indian researcher Gayatri Spivak which describes the set of knowledge and critical/analytical skills that are the basis for understanding how globalisation works, how it affects local contexts and how it can be negotiated. Within this framework, globalisation is a contested phenomenon encompassing global processes that increase interconnectedness between people and intensify the global trade in products between them. It is understood as an ambivalent process as it brings both challenges and possibilities for advancements towards world justice, equality and poverty eradication. This method has been earlier used in ‘Other Worlds Development Education Project’ and is also the basis of educational project, ‘Learning about 'others', learning about ourselves: Transnational Literacy and Globalisation’ both at University of Nottingham. The details of the idea can be accessed at



The following modules will be basis of the course syllabus :


The process of globalisation has impacted every aspect of humanity but our concern here would be to look critically at the neo-liberal economic process of globalisation and its impact on the livelihood of marginalised communities namely indigenous people, Dalits, women, workers in unorganised sector, seasonal migrants, small farmers etc. Never the less, the discussion would not limit itself to the plight of people in India, and examples and case studies would be drawn from South Asia and other parts of the world.



Course Methodology

The highlight of the course will be its participatory and critical approach to learning. All the modules will be preceded by a set of readings (basic texts, web based material, films etc.) provided one month before the beginning of the course. Based on these readings and their understanding participants would be required to prepare a case study of rights violation or protection of marginalised communities in the context of globalisation process. Discussion on all the modules will start either with case studies, films, relevant presentations or reading of important texts, which would act as ‘stimulators’ and throw questions challenging the established notions of key concepts of the course. There will be no lectures, but the experts on the issues would moderate all the discussions and emphasis will to encourage critical discussion on various themes by providing significant inputs. The discussion space would be created and owned by the participants who would try and grapple with the strategies, methods, and notions of rights, justice, gender, peace, development, and sustainability. The ground rule for the creation of the discussion space are : 

The course would also involve presentation and discussion of the case studies prepared by participants, panel discussions, and face-to-face discussions with resource persons.



The participants in the course would be young students, teachers, activists, and professionals with civil and political organisations, grassroots movements etc. the effort will be to have at least fifty percent women participants in the course. Participants should be in the age group of 20-35 yrs and must have proficiency in English to be able to contribute significantly to all the exercises. However, language will not be the barrier to participation and the effort will be made to provide interpreting facilities for those who are not fluent in English. Interested participants should send their curriculum vitae with a 500-1000 word write-up on reason for applying to the course and how it is relevant to her/his work.


The course is non-residential in nature and participants will have to make their own arrangements for stay and travel to the venue. Selected participants will have to pay Rs 250-300 as registration fee. CRG will bear the expenses for course material and other related expenses for all participants during the course. 

At the successful completion of the course participants will be awarded a certificate of appreciation by CRG.