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Keep My Share of Rice in the Cupboard : ethnographic reflections on practices of gender and agency among Dalit women in the Central Himalayas

Polit, Karin Margret

German Title: Halte meinen Anteil Reis immer für mich bereit

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Abstract

The book illuminates various performative practices in Judith Butler's sense which construct gender as integral parts of everyday and ritual practices and are a constitutional of people’s gendered habitus. It describes in detail how low-caste (Mistari, Lohari and Tamta) women in Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India are able to exercise agency while being restricted and restrained by a complicated net of power-relations. Based on extensive ethnographic research in the villages of Chamoli, a high altitude district in the Central Himalayas of North India, the author examines women’s songs, ordinary conversations, my ethnographic observations and especially the stories women told me about themselves, in order to understand what shapes their lives and how female agency – that is, their ability to shape their lives – is constituted and restricted through habitus, gender performativity, and performances of gender.

Translation of abstract (German)

Die Arbeit untersucht in einer Butler'schen Analyse verschiedene performative Praktiken welche Gender in Zusammenhang mit alltäglichen und rituellen Praktiken schaffen und einen geschlechtsspezifischen Habitus hervorbringen, der wiederum den Alltag bestimmt. Die Ethnographie beschreibt im Detail wie Frauen aus den unteren Kasten (Mistari, Lohar und Tamta) in Uttarakhand, einem nördlichen Bundesstaates Indiens ihre eigene Handlungsmacht immer wieder neu aushandeln und positionieren. Verstrickt in der Netz komplizierter Machtstrukturen leben sie ein stolzes und ehrbares Leben.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Sax, Prof. Dr. William S.
Date of thesis defense: 23 June 2006
Date Deposited: 31 May 2010 13:07
Date: 2006
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Behavioural and Cultural Studies > Institute of Ethnology
Subjects: 390 Customs, etiquette, folklore
Controlled Keywords: Uttarakhanda, Garhwal, Butler, Judith / Gender trouble, Geschlechterforschung, Paria, Ritual, Rituelle Magie
Uncontrolled Keywords: anthropology of youth , anthropology of women , anthropology of childhood , ritual healing
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