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

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Desiring Subjects

Power and Pleasure among Hijras of Bangladesh

Beyond Emasculation: Pleasure and Power in the Making of Hijra in Bangladesh by Adnan Hossain, Cambridge University Press, 2021; pp 236, price not mentioned.

Almost a century ago, Robert E Parks had remarked to his students that in order to understand social transformation they needed to get the seats of their pants dirty in real research. He was making a case for ethnography of the “other” within one’s own society—an attempt to understand the commonplace anew (Duneier et al 2014: 1). Adnan Hossain’s book is a significant reminder that immersion in a field and thick descriptions are the best way to upset ideas that become academic common sense. Hossain interrogates the explicit linkages that academic scholarship has established between hijra identity and emasculation. He critiques extant perspectives that reifies hijras as third gender in South Asia for their failure to account for the complexities entailed in a hijra’s subjectivity and their lived experiences. In doing so, he re-envisions the hijra identity as a contested subject position formed both as a repudiation of hegemonic masculinity and a fraught desire for it.

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Updated On : 12th Jun, 2023
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