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Conflicting Ideals and Practices: Gender, Marriage and Norms within the Urban Middle Classes in Contemporary India

Chatterjee, Sanhita (2022) Conflicting Ideals and Practices: Gender, Marriage and Norms within the Urban Middle Classes in Contemporary India. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis explores how, why and with what implications, married men and women from the Bengali urban middle-class in Kolkata draw from discourses of gender equality and practise traditional gender norms at home. The thesis will explore the implication of normative constraints placed on social actors, married men and women, when discourses of gender equality intersect with the practices of traditional gender norms within a patriarchal culture. Drawing from in depth interviews with married heterosexual men and women belonging to the Bengali urban middle-class in Kolkata, the thesis will analyse the process of drawing certain ideals from the discourses of gender equality within a patriarchal culture and its impact on the creation of a complex gender identity for married men and married women in contemporary India. In a patrilineal kinship system, women make intimate relationships after marriage when entering the marital home, with the husband and his family, especially his mother and father. In this process, the marital home evolves as a site of resistance and negotiation for married women who belong to a class that professes certain egalitarian ideals by drawing from discourses of gender equality but place the normative expectation of caregiving on women and breadwinning on men. Drawing from Bourdieu’s theories of habitus, field and distinction, the thesis examines the processes through which practices that uphold the traditional gender norms at home persist even when women belonging to a culturally dominant class engage in passive resistance or question these patriarchal norms by drawing on certain ideals from discourses of gender equality.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Sanhita Chatterjee
Date Deposited: 13 May 2022 10:20
Last Modified: 13 May 2022 10:20
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/32833

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