© 2018 – Routledge
This book examines the strategies of resistance among the Dalit women of Nepal in their struggle against the social injustice of the caste system and related practices of "untouchability", particularly in regard to the ways in which these injustices lead to capability failures that diminish human dignity and the quality of life.
The author puts forward an understanding of social injustice as involving three dimensions – injustice as maldistribution, injustice as exclusion, and injustice as disempowerment – and applies this framework to the particular situation of Dalit women. Based on personal interviews and ethnographic accounts, the book describes and analyses the many forms of political activism, both individual and collective, initiated by Dalit women as creative strategies to not only challenge and remedy the forces of social injustice but also to enable Dalit women to realize their fundamental human capabilities. Further, it considers how these activists view social justice not merely as the absence of maldistribution, exclusion, and disempowerment but as the presence of positive "substantial freedoms" to pursue and realize those capabilities that are essential for human flourishing.
The book shows the moral lives of this historically understudied group in ways that challenge the guiding assumptions and methodologies of comparative ethics and political philosophy. A groundbreaking study of the lived ethics of Dalit women, this book will be of interest to academics in the fields of South Asian Studies, Religious Studies, Anthropology and Women’s Studies.
1. Introduction 2. Of Categories and Methods: The Failures of Comparative Religious Ethics 3. Lived Ethics: A Minimalist Approach to Comparative Religious Ethics 4. Caste and Gender in Nepal: The Many Faces of Social Injustice 5. Creative Non-Conformity: Challenging the Structures of Unfreedom 6. The Practice of Freedom: Realizing Human Capabilities among Dalit Women 7. Marketing Oppression: NGOs and the Perils of Fundraising 8. Conclusion