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VOLUME 3 (2001), ISSUE 5  (SUMMER)

 

WOMEN AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA: THE BENGALI LOWER MIDDLE-CLASS

RUCHIRA GANGULY-SCRASE

 

SUMMARY

Based on fieldwork among lower middle class families in West Bengal, India, this article examines the emergence of new class identities prompted by economic liberalization and globalization. One of the crucial markers of emerging middle class identity is the desire for the public visibility of women and their relative freedom to pursue careers. The article focuses on the worldviews of Bengali lower middle classes concerning gender equality, mediated by both public debate and the popular media. Finally, it explores the central role of gender in the mediation of modernity, and analyzes the colonial and post-colonial debates on emancipation of women that have played an important role in the making of an Indian modernity.

KEYWORDS

International Economy - Globalization -  Economic Liberalization -  India - Women - Class 

AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION

Ruchira Ganguly-Scrase holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Melbourne (1993). She is the author of Global Issues/ Local Contexts : The Rabi Das of West Bengal, New Delhi, Orient Longman. Her research interests include comparative sociology, gender relations, race and ethnicity groups, and ethnographic and qualitative research methods. Ruchira is researching on the impact of economic globalization in India at the Centre for Asia-Pacific Social Transformation Studies, University of Wollongong, Australia and teaching in the Sociology program of this University.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This article is a revised version of a paper presented to the Conference on Transitions in Asia Pacific Societies, 4th Conference of the Asia Pacific Sociological Association, 14-16 September 2000, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan. The research for the study was funded by an Australian Research Council  grant.

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