Women, development, caste, and violence in rural Bihar, India

Datta, Amrita and Satija, Shivani (2020) Women, development, caste, and violence in rural Bihar, India. Asian Journal of Women's Studies, 26 (2). pp. 223-244. ISSN 1225-9276

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This article focuses on the contradictions that exist between economic development and gender equity in India. It deploys concepts of cultural violence and symbolic hegemony to understand how gender and caste-based violence is normalized and institutionalized over time through cultural norms. It also uses an intersectional lens to examine the layers of marginalization and oppression. Based on field studies in rural Bihar, it shows that despite development gains, old forms of gender-based discrimination and violence such as son-preference, dowry, witch-hunting, and discriminatory practices associated with menstruation persist. It notes that there are new forms of violence used by the upper caste groups against the lower ones when the latter resist and refuse to continue performing traditional caste-based tasks. We argue that this refusal by lower caste women can be seen as symbolic resistance against historically defined norms of caste. The emerging patterns of violence discussed in the paper need a more concerted and nuanced exploration of reconfigurations of relations within and between caste groups, as well as the cultural and social contexts in which changes are taking place. © 2020, © 2020 Asian Center for Women's Studies, Ewha Womans University.

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IITH Creators:
IITH CreatorsORCiD
Datta, Amritahttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-7923-8235
Item Type: Article
Additional Information: We are grateful to Janine Rodgers and two anonymous reviewers of the AJWS for their thoughtful comments on an earlier version of this article. This is an outcome of research undertaken at the Institute for Human Development (IHD), New Delhi for two research projects in rural Bihar; the first studied the status of women with a view to examine transformation in work and gender relations and was funded by the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the second focused on violence against women and was funded by SEWA Bharat. We are grateful to IHD, ILO and SEWA Bharat for their support. We acknowledge the support of B.K.N Singh, and a team of field researchers that included the following persons: Abhilasha Kumari, C.V.S. Pandey, Kumari Rishu, Neha Sharma, Pratibha Kumari, Satish Sharma, Sweety Singh and Vatsala Bhusry. An earlier version of this paper was selected for the Working Group, Going Beyond Gender: Intersectional Approaches to Gender and Development in Theory and Practice at the EADI Nordic Conference, Rethinking Inequalities and Boundaries: Globalisation at the Crossroads, at Bergen in August 2017.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bihar; caste; development; Gender; India; symbolic resistance; violence
Subjects: Arts > Liberal arts
Divisions: Department of Liberal Arts
Depositing User: Ms Palak Jain
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2022 09:55
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2022 09:55
URI: http://raiith.iith.ac.in/id/eprint/11420
Publisher URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/12259276.2020.1779488
OA policy: https://v2.sherpa.ac.uk/id/publication/42005
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