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

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Ruptures and Reproduction in Caste/Gender/Labour

This paper views labour, specifically gendered labour, through the lens of caste; and that which lies concealed within the relations of labour, despite its linkages with other social hierarchies, specifically caste relations. It throws light on the contributions of those who take on the burden of social reproduction, and whose labours continue to be devalued. It also addresses the relationship, if any, between stigma/the stigmatised body and the devaluation of labour. Finally, it locates a quest related to notions of autonomy and emancipation, which perhaps has led the mainstream women's movements to distance themselves from the burden that caste places on the lives and labours of women.

As someone who has been part of the articulations of the autonomouswomen’s movements in India, in Chennai and Mumbai, I hope, along with others in this quest, to continue a self-critical refl ection through this paper, and to seek dialogic spaces out of feminist impasses. Many thanks to Sharmila Rege and admini Swaminathan for this opportunity and their support in writing this paper or the EPW. Special thanks to friends in the Forum Against Oppression of Women, and Apoorva Kaiwar, Mary E John, Ranjana Padhi, V Geetha, Nandini Manjrekar and Asha Achuthan for discussions and suggestions that enriched both this paper and my mind.

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