ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dispensing with Daughters: Technology, Society, Economy in North India

A study of the micro-level experiences of families in five districts, one each in five states, some of them with the lowest child sex ratios in the country, seeks to explain the complex causes behind the declining ratios by looking at gender and family strategies, shaped by social processes in the urban and rural areas.

Reframing Globalisation: Perspectives from the Women's Movement

This is a feminist invitation to rethink the nation-to-globalisation narrative that structures prominent approaches to India's post-independence history. Exploring the question from different vantage points, it argues that the long history of the women's movement in India from the 19th century onwards has been fundamentally international in scope within which the "nation" occupied a troubled position. The more recent challenges of caste and sexuality are further reasons to question a unidimensional conceptualisation of the present. The very pressing uncertainties besetting the future of the women's movement in India - and elsewhere - would be better appreciated within a "post-national" as against a "global" conjunctural analysis.

The Business and Ethics of Surrogacy

The Draft Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill and Rules (2008) intends to regulate an "industry" in India that has been expanding by leaps and bounds, mainly on account of a growing demand by foreign couples in search of relatively cheap surrogacy arrangements. This commentary argues that there has been next to no public debate on the ethical, social and medical questions around infertility and surrogacy in our context, and makes a beginning in this direction. Thanks to pressure from women's groups the draft has now been placed on the web site of the Indian Council of Medical Research for comments.

Theorising the Present: Problems and Possibilities

The usefulness or otherwise of the kind of theory that Chatterjee offers is decided by its ability to offer a symptomatic reading of significant trends and trajectories. Does the essay on democracy and economic transformation in India meet this test?

New Agendas for Social Science Research

The last 20 years have witnessed an extraordinary proliferation of "big questions" as the older certitudes have broken down one by one. Whether it be the nature of development, the structure of politics or the rise of new kinds of social identities, recent events are making it evident that the social sciences are as yet unable to adequately interpret contemporary history. The issue then is one that almost never gets addressed: How do we turn events and questions into a meaningful and researchable agenda?

Women in Power?

This paper opens up for further discussion the role of reservations based on caste and gender in the municipal corporations of Delhi and Bangalore. It is centrally concerned with two related issues, the problem of so-called "proxy" women, and the "critical mass" rationale for reservations - whether for women or other excluded groups. Based on a larger research study, the paper argues that while the proxy issue is far more complex than what existing critiques allow, the question of whether women constitute a political identity or force has no easy answers. The relatively neglected world of urban municipal politics presents challenges and opportunities for all those concerned with the relationship of feminism and democracy to questions of politics and power.

Women and Feminism in China and India

On the occasion of an international conference on women's and gender studies in Asia hosted by the Kartini Network of Women's and Gender Studies Institutes in Asia and the Centre for Gender Studies, Dalian University, China in September 2004, an interview was arranged between feminists from India and Li Xiaojiang, currently the director of gender studies at Dalian University. Li Xiaojiang is one of the founders of women's studies in China and has written widely on the subject of women and feminism. The following excerpts from the interview address the location of women in China and India, theories of women and feminism, problems of translation, and approaches to globalisation.

Symposium

Marriage, Family and Community A Feminist Dialogue Introduction In the recent past, the debates around sexuality and gender unfolding in the country are beginning to resonate with the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual peoples and communities who are fighting for their rights. Emerging articulations exploring connections and tensions around gender and sexual expression, identity, state repression, nationalism and the market, in ways that destabilise notions of the self and society are opening up spaces for imagining a humane world where all genders and sexualities can be respected and treated equally.

Alternate Modernities?

This paper examines the conflict over and opposition to reserved seats during the preindependence decades of the 20th century and its Constitutional resolution as critical inputs to the 1990s. The history of reservations in India is also centrally about caste and communalism. Though these issues were sought to be resolved at moments which had a direct bearing on women's rights, we have yet to understand the implications that these conjunctures hold for feminist politics.

Mirror Politics: 'Fire', Hindutva and Indian Culture

With the immediate danger of a possible ban now behind us, it may be useful to look at 'Fire' more carefully and raise certain questions in the context of the recent controversy and acclaim. Shouldn't we go beyond identifying good and bad images of women to investigate the critique of patriarchy that a film like 'Fire' provides, and the characterisation of the feminist self that it makes available?

Gender and Development in India, 1970s-1990s Some Reflections on the Constitutive Role of Contexts

Some Reflections on the Constitutive Role of Contexts Mary E John The ideologies of globalisation and structural adjustment seek to make one deaf to the immediate past and to anything that does not speak in the language of efficiency. However, the contemporary changes overtaking us, disturbing as they are, also hat hour the possibility of bringing our political and intellectual engagements on to new and fruitful terrain. For those who have been working at the interface of gender and development, it is time to refigure their priorities, not by secluding themselves within some putative 'pure' economy, but by broadening feminist conceptions of the economy itself Rescuing the notion of gender from its ritualistic incantations and making it really work for a more emancipatory and inclusive social order is one of the ways open to them, one they have every reason to take.

Interrogating Anthropology

Interrogating Anthropology Mary E John Fictions of Feminist Ethnography by Kamala Visweswaran; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1996; pp xii + 205, Rs 345. First published in 1993 by the University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota.

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