The Impact of Development on Social Conflicts-Case Studies of Intra-Family and Inter-Group Strife in Two Villages in Kerala

Ajay, Anamika (2020) The Impact of Development on Social Conflicts-Case Studies of Intra-Family and Inter-Group Strife in Two Villages in Kerala. Doctoral thesis, NIAS.

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Thesis advisorPani,
Abstract: The escalation of individual cases of women’s demand for equality and personal freedom into intra-community and inter-community conflicts are not unknown. As more women have begun to assert themselves as individuals, citizens and workers in the contemporary context of globalised development, the link between gender relations and social conflicts are only likely to strengthen. However, the existing theorisations have largely under-examined the role of gender and family in shaping intra-community and inter-community conflicts because of the complete analytical separation between the private and public spheres. To understand the impact of diverse development processes on the everyday interactions between intra-family gender relations and social conflicts, mixed-methods field research was conducted in two villages in Kerala with diverse development experiences. The study focused on the changes in two sets of interactions - between work and family, and between family and community- by analysing gender relations within and across these spheres. The study finds that the transition from a low-income economy to a remittance-dependent consumerist society has generated new crises, inequalities, opportunities and aspirations in contemporary Kerala. The responsibilities and burdens of managing the crises and negotiating aspirations under these contexts of immense social change have increasingly fallen on women. Women’s labour has emerged as an important resource for globalising capital. Development policies and welfare programs target women as primary agents through whom welfare resources are transferred to families. Women play a vital role in the survival, resilience and upward mobility of families in the contemporary context. With this expansion of women’s economic roles and a simultaneous weakening of men’s ability to be breadwinners, the traditional bases for masculine power and identity within the family are being undermined. It is under these circumstances of altered intra-family gender dynamics that men turn to community and political organisations to restore their diminished status. Community organisations in Kerala have always been major sources of economic, social, political and affective support for its members. Consequently, leadership positions in these organisations are associated with high status. As men dominate these resourceful organisations, their status as household heads and active community members is reinforced undermining the important contributions women make in the work and home spheres. The masculinised community and political organisations use gender as an instrument to control women and mobilise them for various communitarian projects including inter-group conflicts.
Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: School of Social Sciences > Economics
Doctoral Programme > Theses
Date Deposited: 14 May 2021 11:59
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2023 05:36
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