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

Articles by Meenakshi ThapanSubscribe to Meenakshi Thapan

Linkages between Culture, Education and Women s Health in Urban Slums

Women's Health in Urban Slums Meenakshi Thapan This paper examines some of the important linkages between culture and tradition, education and women's health through an analysis of secondary data from mainly two sources. Although education plays a crucial role in providing the possibilities for personal growth and independence, the importance of cultural norms, values and customs in determining the life choices and physical and mental well-being of women cannot be denied. An empowering education has to address itself to the needs and competencies of women in their daily lives. The significant value of education also lies in its ability to alter women's consciousness and lives from within so that they question these traditions and practices and bring about a change in their everyday lives by asserting themselves through a positive understanding and appreciation of their identities as women.

Women s Autonomy Is It Dependent only on Their Education

Women's Education, Autonomy, and Reproductive Behaviour: Experience from Developing Countries by Shireen J Jejeebhoy; Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1995; pp xvii + 295, Price not stated.

Understanding the Anthropological Method

Understanding the Anthropological Method Meenakshi Thapan I AM writing in response to Carol Upadhya' s review (EPW, ' 'Native' Voices and Ethnographic Noise', July 20,1996, pp 1932-34). Upadhya has undertaken a review of two books on women in India by anthropologists. I am not here to defend the books against the disdainful and condescending comments made by Upadhya. The authors of the books under review might perhaps decide to take up Upadhya on those issues. I would however like to comment on the method that Upadhya chooses to debunk in a most ill-informed and casual manner.

Images of the Body and Sexuality in Women s Narratives on Oppression in the Home

Narratives on Oppression in the Home Meenakshi Thapan Based on in-depth interviews with middle and upper class women in New Delhi, this paper examines the relationship between women's experiences of physical violence and psychological oppression in the home and their perceptions of their bodies and sexuality. The female body is viewed as no more than a 'body-far-others ', culturally constructed through media images and through women's internalisation of the gaze of the other. Thus what these women often experience as oppression is related to the denigration of a body-image and sexual identity. In conclusion, the author poses some questions regarding the possibilities of an autonomous femininity that would in fact enable these women to be free of the oppressive gaze.

Partial Triths-Privileging A Male Viewpoint

Partial Triths Privileging A 'Male' Viewpoint Meenakshi Thapan FEMINISM in India needs no defence. Least of all from me, a sociologist of education, now working in the broad area of femininity and culture within which I am examining perceptions of the female body and constructions of femininity. Hence, this response to Dipankar Gupta (EPW.Vol XXX, No 12,617-20) who knows how to tell a good tala and tells it rivetingly and compellingly. But all tales well told are not necessarily true or well considered or adequately researched.

Sociology in India-A View from Within

A View from Within Meenakshi Thapan Informed largely by the work of the French sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu, this article attempts to identify and analyse the 'field' of sociology in India. It traces the development of sociology as a discipline and then its institu- tionalisation in the Indian context Against this background are set out some of the various divisions, struggles, and relationships that constitute the field of sociology IN order to identify and analyse the field of sociology in India, it is first necessary to define both my use of the term field in a specific sense and of sociology as it has been conceived and practised in India.1 But first, let me state that my interest in this subject grew out of a wider concern with field work, both as it is conducted and written about.2 As sociologists or anthropologists we do field work on 'the other', an entity, being, or situation somewhat separate from ourselves as professional sociologists. My interest lies in turning the sociological gaze inwards, or more appropriately, on ourselves as practitioners of a particular discipline in which we have been trained. The question arises as to whether it is in fact possible to turn this gaze, so used to looking outside at 'the other', inwards to look at ourselves? Can we apply the same norms and principles of method to look at ourselves as we do, so critically and analytically, with 'the other'?' This sociological self of course also includes the author who is in fact attempting to turn the sociological gaze not only upon 'other' practitioners of the discipline but also on herself as a member of the community of sociologists. This is by no means an easy task for it may yet be simple to examine sociologists as 'the other' but far more difficult to understand sociologists and sociology in India with onself as an integral part of both the object of study as well as in the role of the observer. Bourdieu, of course, argues that for the development of a 'genuine social science' what is required is participant objectivation in which the researcher "reflexively situates his or her own position in relation to the study" [1989a]. This is considered an essential pre-requisite for a truly reflexive sociology.

Some Aspects of Cultural Reproduction and Pedagogic Communication

This paper is an attempt to critically examine the thesis on cultural reproduction based essentially on the work of Pierre Bourdieu. This is done in response to the criticism levelled at theorists of cultural reproduction by 'resistance' theorists that their theory is deterministic and pessimistic in nature as it does not allow for individual intervention

Nature and Significance of Subjectivity in Fieldwork

these innocent tribals to so much trouble. Unless someone tells you that some of these desperados are tribals from the very same villages and the others are as nearly so as makes no difference, you are likely to get righteous fit to burst.

Utilisation of Social Science Research

'Utilisation' of Social Science Research Meenakshi Thapan The Use and Abuse of Social Science Research edited by Frank Heller; Sage Publications, London, 1986; pp 294,

Lifting the Veils-Fieldwork in a Public School in South

Lifting the Veils Fieldwork in a Public School in South India Meenakshi Thapan This paper attempts to show how certain techniques of data collection in sociological research may be adapted creatively to settings other than those in which they are first fashioned Different social situations certainly require different tools of analysis, but it would be carrying specialisation too far to argue that we need as many methods as there are social situations. This point is illustrated below by showing how the method of intensive fieldwork, developed by anthropologists into a scientific skill and an art, may be employed in the study of modem formal organisations


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