2012 CPSA Prize in Comparative Politics
Winner: Lisa Vanhala
Making Rights a Reality? Disability Rights Activists and Legal Mobilization (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011)
Excerpt from jury report: Lisa Vanhala’s Making Rights a Reality? Disability Rights Activists and Legal Mobilization (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011) makes a major theoretical contribution to our understanding of the politics of disability rights, the judicialization of politics, and social movement theory. Vanhala presents a strong argument for “why, when and how some groups are more likely than others to rely on litigation strategy as part of their overall logic of action.” (p.9) Rather than resources or political opportunities, she argues that the broader institutional environment affects the frames and actions they choose. In short, ideas and collective identity matter. Using a sociological-institutional approach, she develops a rich in-depth analysis based in extensive interview data. The book compares the cases of Canada and the UK.