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Against the Grain: Indian Women Negotiate Land, Labour and Livelihoods in the New Millennium

Meena Gopal, Orlanda Ruthven and Bina Fernandez
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Meena Gopal: Advanced Centre for Women’s Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)
Orlanda Ruthven: Independent Scholar
Bina Fernandez: University of Melbourne

A chapter in Land, Labour and Livelihoods, 2016, pp 1-27 from Palgrave Macmillan

Abstract: Abstract Indian women are positioned at a critical juncture in the second decade of the twenty-first century. The new opportunities of a liberalised, growing economy has produced uneven effects for women, leading to some gains but overall the persistence, and in some cases even deepening, of gender disadvantages. The chapters in this book articulate the multiple modalities of women working ‘against the grain’ of patriarchal values, ideologies, practices and institutions in order to secure land, labour and livelihoods. This introductory chapter signals the need for three important directional shifts in interventions and analyses. First, we argue for a shift in the conceptualisation of the informal sector, given that the majority of India’s workforce, particularly women, are located within it. Second, we place social reproduction at the centre of our thinking about the informal sector, challenge the assumption of it as an invisible, ‘given’ responsibility of women and eschew the artificial binary between production and social reproduction. Third, the insights of these chapters suggest that considerations of intersectionality and gendered social relations should be integral to land, labour and livelihood strategies.

Keywords: Labour Market; Informal Sector; Social Reproduction; Collective Enterprise; Waste Picker (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-40865-1_1

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