This book tracks the trajectory of gender in the social sciences and humanities through an exploration of the challenges and contradictions that confront contemporary feminist analysis as well as future directions. Drawing on research in India, the essays in the volume engage with the subject in imaginative ways, each one going beyond documenting the persistence of gender inequality, instead raising new questions and dilemmas while unravelling the complexities of the terrain. They also interrogate extant knowledge that has ‘constructed’ women as ‘agentless’ over the years, incapable of contesting or transforming social orders – by taking a close look at gendered decision-making processes and outcomes, sex for pleasure, health care practices, content and context of formal schooling or the developmental state that ‘mainstreams’ gender. Do existing feminist methodologies enable the understanding of emerging themes as online sexual politics, transnational surrogacy or masculinist ‘anti-feminist’ sensibilities? The feminist methodologies delineated here will provide readers with a toolkit to assess the criticality of gender as well as its nuances. The work foregrounds the importance of intersectionality and builds a case for context-specific articulations of gender and societies that destabilize binary universals.
This volume will be useful to scholars and researchers across the disciplines of the social sciences and humanities, especially gender studies, women’s studies, feminism, research methodology, education, sociology, political science and public policy.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgment. Contributors. Introduction: Re-presenting Feminist Methodologies Kalpana Kannabiran & Padmini Swaminathan Part One: Mapping Terrains Section 1: Feminist Journeys 1. Studying Women and the Women’s Movement in India: Methods and Impressions Joan P. Mencher 2. ‘To bounce like a ball that has been hit’: Feminist Reflections on the Family Kalpana Kannabiran 3. Masculinities in Fieldwork: Notes on Feminist Methodology Romit Chowdhury 4. Real Life Methods: Feminist Explorations of Segregation in Delhi Ghazala Jamil Section 2: Unpacking Disciplines 5. Stories We Tell: Feminism, Science, Methodology Banu Subramanian 6. Researching Online Worlds through a Feminist Lens: Text, Context and Assemblages Usha Raman & Sai Amulya Komarraju 7. The Erotics of Risk: Feminism and the Humanities in flagrante delicto Brinda Bose 8. Impractical Topics, Practical Fields: Notes on Researching Sexual Violence in India Pratiksha Baxi Part Two: Exploring Themes Section 3: Development 9. Planning for Modernization? Feminist Readings of Plans and Planned Development in India Padmini Swaminathan 10. Unpacking ‘Win-Win’: How Feminists Interrogate Microfinance K. Kalpana 11. Globalisations, Mobility and Agency: Understanding Women’s Lives Through Women’s Voices Bhavani Arabandi 12. ‘Ladkiyaan Phir Aage?’: Towards Understanding the Formal School System Kumkum Roy Section 4: Health 13. Researching Assisted Conception from a Feminist Lens Sarojini Nadimpally & Anindita Majumdar 14. RUWSEC Clinic: Challenges posed by the medical establishment to an attempt at a grassroots feminist clinic Subha Sri B. & T. K. Sundari Ravindran 15. Feminist Critical Medical Anthropology Methodologies: Understanding Gender and Healthcare in India Cecilia Van Hollen Index
Kalpana Kannabiran is Professor and Director at the Council for Social Development, Hyderabad, India. Among her book publications are Tools of Justice: Non-Discrimination and the Indian Constitution (2012) and the edited volumes The Violence of Normal Times: Essays on Women’s Lived Realities (2005), Women and Law: Critical Feminist Perspectives (2014) and Violence Studies (2016). She has taught at NALSAR University of Law and is co-founder of Asmita Resource Centre for Women. Kannabiran has written on gender, caste, tribe, violence, disability, law and free speech and is recipient of the VKRV Rao Prize for Social Science Research (2003) and the Amartya Sen Award for Distinguished Social Scientists (2012), both for her work in the field of law. She is on the editorial advisory committee of the Review of Women’s Studies of Economic and Political Weekly.
Padmini Swaminathan is Professor and Chairperson of the School of Livelihoods and Development at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad, India. A former Director at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, she also held the Reserve Bank of India Chair in Regional Studies at MIDS. Her research work covers industrial organization, labour, occupational health and skill development, all from a perspective of gender. Her recent publications include the edited volume Women and Work (2012). She currently serves on the editorial boards of several journals including Gender, Technology and Development, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Journal of Entrepreneurship and the editorial advisory committee of the Review of Women’s Studies of Economic and Political Weekly.