Women, Gender and Everyday Social Transformation in India

Women, Gender and Everyday Social Transformation in India

Edited by Kenneth Bo Nielsen & Anne Waldrop

Anthem South Asian Studies

‘Women, Gender and Everyday Social Transformation in India’ explores key processes of gendered change in contemporary India. Through ethnographically grounded case studies, the volume foregrounds the contradictory and contested co-existence of discrepant gendered norms, values and visions in a society caught up in wider processes of sociopolitical change.

Hardback, 262 Pages


January 2014

£70.00, $115.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
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About This Book

The pace of socioeconomic transformation in India over the past two and a half decades has been formidable. This volume sheds light on key processes of gendered change by exploring how macro-structural processes of social transformation interface with everyday life-worlds to generate new contestations and contradictions that impinge directly on the everyday lives of ordinary Indian women, and on the relations between genders.

Through ethnographically grounded case studies, the contradictory and contested co-existence of discrepant gendered norms, values and visions in a society caught up in wider processes of sociopolitical change are portrayed. ‘Women, Gender and Everyday Social Transformation in India’ moves the debate on gender and transformation into the domain of everyday life to arrive at locally embedded and detailed, ethnographically informed analyses of gender relations in real-life contexts that foreground both subtle and not-so-subtle negotiations and contestations.

The chapters take the reader inside the university classroom as well as the NGO, the urban slum and the rural health clinic; they visit the Pentecostal church, the call centre and the beaches of Goa; they venture into the men’s rights group, the court room and the anti-land acquisition rally; they engage with Maoist writings and the ideology of neoliberal governance and they analyse the use of grinders, mixers, make-up, smart phones and solar photovoltaic mini-grids – to name but a few.


‘This book is a remarkable exercise aimed at comprehending and capturing change in a very complex society. It is an extremely useful volume for students and researchers of development and women’s studies.’ —Padmini Swaminathan, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad, India

Author Information

Kenneth Bo Nielsen is an anthropologist and research fellow at the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, Norway.

Anne Waldrop is an anthropologist and associate professor of development studies at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway.


Anthem South Asian Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Women and Gender in a Changing India; Part I: Work, Technology, Aspirations; 1. Today’s ‘Good Girl’: The Women behind India’s BPO Industry – Reena Patel; 2. Gender, Intersectionality and Smart Phones in Rural West Bengal – Sirpa Tenhunen; 3. The Introduction of Electricity in the Sunderban Islands: Conserving or Transforming Gender Relations? – Tanja Winther; 4. Changing Consumption and the Negotiation of Gender Roles in Kerala – Harold Wilhite; 5. Gender, Work and Social Change: Return Migration to Kerala – Berit Helene Vandsemb; 6. Showtime and Exposures in New India: The Revelations of Lucky Farmhouse – Nicol Foulkes and Stig Toft Madsen; Part II: Democracy and the Developmental State; 7. Gender and Democratisation: The Politics of Two Female Grassroots Activists in New Delhi – Stein Sundstøl Eriksen and Anne Waldrop; 8. The Reproductive Body and the State: Engaging with the National Rural Health Mission in Tribal Odisha – Arima Mishra and Sidsel Roalkvam; 9. A Veiled Change Agent: The ‘Accredited Social Health Activist’ in Rural Rajasthan – Dagrun Kyte Gjøstein; 10. Disciplining Gender and Gendering Discipline: Women’s Studies in Contemporary India – Mallarika Sinha Roy; Part III: Assertions and Activism; 11. New Subalterns? Feminist Activism in an Era of Neoliberal Development – Srila Roy; 12. Family, Femininity, Feminism: ‘Structures of Feeling’ in the Articulation of Men’s Rights – Romit Chowdhury; 13. Women’s Activism in the Singur Movement, West Bengal – Kenneth Bo Nielsen; 14. The Women’s Question and Indian Maoism – Lipika Kamra; 15. Caste and Class in Gendered Religion: Dalit Women in Chennai’s Slums – Karin Kapadia; About the Editors and Contributors


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