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

Articles by Sharmila RegeSubscribe to Sharmila Rege

Intersections of Gender and Caste

This edition focuses on the relations between caste and gender and explores the intersectionalities involved. It includes articles exploring the politics of feminism and dalit activism located in urban spaces, in working class sites, through labour, "traditional" rituals, issues of honour and inter-caste marriage.

State Policy and the Twelfth Plan through a Gender Lens

The rapidly changing urban scenario seems to have important implications for gendering governance in Kerala. Thus, besides the different histories mediated by caste and community, the spatial location of women leaders in local governance appears to be of central importance in shaping their agency. This article which is based on the research about women leaders in local governance in Kerala in 2005-10 explores the extent to which success in local governance allowed these women entry into politics and gave them a greater presence within the public life. Generally it is seen that successful women leaders are often the bearers of a specific form of power that has been historically associated with the deployment of sentiment and affect, and ideal femininity, and that such power is understood to be crucial to local governance as well. However, an entirely different picture emerged from this study on women leaders of urban governance. Besides gentle power, successful women attribute their success equally to knowledge - of official norms and procedures.

Education as Trutiya Ratna: Towards Phule-Ambedkarite Feminist Pedagogical Practice

"New times" in the university are marked by narratives that bemoan a "decline in plurality and standards" especially in places where a new generation of scholars and students from historically disadvantaged sections in Indian society is posing challenges to the social homogeneity of the classroom, boards of studies and other academic bodies, leading to obvious frictions on issues related to standards and merit. A new generation of dalit scholarship has raised questions both about the accessibility of higher education and the limitations in making it enabling for those who struggle to gain entry into it. This has enabled an open debate on the absence of transparency in higher education and the nexus of networks of exclusion that operate formally and informally on campuses to reproduce caste inequalities in the metropolitan university.

Interrogating the Thesis of 'Irrational Deification'

Mass gatherings on significant Ambedkarite dates are seen by some as irrationally deifying Ambedkar. In fact, on these days dalit history is remembered and reinterpreted, notably through the large sale of audio cassettes of compositions from the 1930s extolling Babasaheb's struggles to the current I Love You Ambedkar collection that celebrates selfless commitment to the community.

More than Just Tacking Women on to the 'Macropicture'

This paper maps three discrete and overlapping feminist perspectives on globalisation, locating their theoretical genealogies and legacies in development studies, third world/transnational studies and post-communism transitology studies. It underlines the prominent discourses of globalisation which in outlining the econo-techno and institutional processes as having a pervasive if uneven impact, treat them as gender neutral. The paper argues that a mode of relational analysis, which makes feminist contributions distinctive, helps to make connections and trace the naturalised assumptions in the debate on globalisation. It suggests that engendering the discourse of globalisation entails more than simply tacking women on to macrostructural models of globalisation.

Conceptualising Popular Culture

The sphere of cultural studies, as it has developed in India, has viewed the 'popular' in terms of mass-mediated forms - cinema and art. Its relative silence on caste-based cultural forms or forms that contested caste is surprising, since several of these forms had contested the claims of national culture and national identity. While these caste-based cultural practices with their roots in the social and material conditions of the dalits and bahujans have long been marginalised by bourgeois forms of art and entertainment, the category of the popular lives on and continues to relate to everyday lives, struggles and labour of different classes, castes and gender. This paper looks at caste-based forms of cultural labour such as the lavani and the powada as grounds on which cultural and political struggles are worked out and argue that struggles over cultural meanings are inseparable from struggles of survival.

Dalit Women Talk Differently: A Critique of Difference and Towards a Dalit Feminist Standpoint Position

The assertion of autonomous dalit women's organisations in the 1990s threw up several crucial theoretical and political challenges, besides underlining the brahmanism of the feminist movement and the patriarchal practices of dalit politics. While initially they promoted serious debate among both left party+based women' s groups as well as autonomous women's movement, they seem to have come to rest today. The apparent absence of a revisioning of feminist politics only suggests an ideological position of multiple/plural feminist standpoints. Within such a framework of 'difference' issues of caste become the sole responsibility of the dalit women's organisations. This absence of an exploration of different positions hinders dialectics, both of a revisioning of contemporary feminist politics and a sharpening of the positions put forth by autonomous dalit women's organisations.

Of Mudhouse Cultural Activists and Cultural Hierarchies

Cultural Hierarchies Sharmila Rege Dalit Cultural Movement and Dialectics of Dalit Politics in Maharashtra by Gopal Guru; Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, Mumbai, 1997, THE book under review, a documentation of the dalit women's cultural assertion and an analysis of the post-1980s decline of the dalit cultural movement in Maharashtra, is welcome, particularly at this political juncture. On the one hand hindutva forces project a homogenised brahmanical Hindu identity in a bid to woo the dalit and bahujan votes, and some of the most radical of the 'panthers' seem to have surrendered to the calls of the 'tiger territory'. On the other, the forces of globalisation project a homogenised, seemingly secure, globalised consumer identity. Yet the caste question, like never before, seems to have come to the centre of political processes as an issue of redistribution of power and justice. The separate political assertion of dalit women's organisations has been significant in drawing attention to the inseparable nature of the caste and gender question in India. That dalit political parties, organisations and feminists came together in giving a call for the celebration of December 25, the day on which Babasaheb Ambcdkar burnt the Manusmriti, as Indian Women's day, is a case in point. For all those who still continue to conceive the caste question as 'identity politics' and a politics of recognition, and thereby political economy and culture as a mechanical dichotomy. Guru's analysis underlines the inseparability of the structures of the political economy and meaning of cultural reproduction.

Institutional Alliance between Sociology and Gender Studies-Story of the Crocodile and Monkey

If the alliance between sociology and gender studies is not to settle into a 'tiredness' and 'relation of convenience', pedagogies that explicitly interrogate the divisions of public and private, reason and emotion, rooted in both, the everyday and history are crucial Such pedagogies can have the kind of subversive impact on the academy which the alliance between sociology and women's studies was expected to have had on the structures and processes of the academy.


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