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One of the only ethnographic studies of Dalit women, this book gives a rich account of individual Dalit women’s lives and documents a rise in patriarchy in the community. The author argues that as Dalits’ economic and political position improves, ‘honour’ becomes crucial to social status. One of the ways Dalits accrue honour is by altering patterns of women’s work, education and marriage and by adopting dominant caste gender practices. But Dalits are not simply becoming more like the upper catstes; they are simultaneously asserting a distinct, politicised Dalit identity, formed in direct opposition to the dominant castes. They are developing their own ‘politics of culture’.
Key to both, the author argues, is the ‘respectability’ of women. This has significant effects on gender equality in the Dalit community.
Clarinda Still is a social anthropologist and a postdoctoral researcher in the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme at the University of Oxford. Her work has mainly focused on Dalits in Andhra Pradesh, India. She is currently working on two projects: one about democracy, caste and muscular politics in South India and the other about inequality and poverty among Dalits and adivasis.
2. Contextualising Dalit ‘Shame’
3. Dalit Women and the Politics of Culture
4. Dalit Women’s Everyday Life, Work, Kinship and Shame
5. Honour and Shame in the Madiga palli: Leela’s Elopement, Possession and Marriage
6. Women’s Education, Marriage, Honour and the New Dalit Housewife
7. Alcohol, Violence and Women’s ‘Suffering’: ‘Adulterer, tramp or thief, a husband is a husband’
8. Kalyani: ‘Development’, ‘Civilization’ and ‘Women’s Empowerment’
9. ‘Culture’, ‘Civilization’ and Citizenship BibliographyIndex