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Title: That common ground : education, marriage and family in middle-class, urban India
Author: Kothari, Anjali
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 9187
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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In the early 1990s, India liberalised its economy and subsequently its television market, signalling a deeper integration into the global economy. This study examines how a group of women from urban, middle-class backgrounds have responded to the widening educational and economic opportunities and cultural changes that followed. Data were gathered through life history interviews with twenty-seven participants: ten pairs of mothers and daughters in the city of Pune and seven young women in Mumbai. Data were analysed using Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of capital, habitus and field in order to explore individual and family strategies for social reproduction. Findings indicate that middle-class belonging for these Indian women is not an automatic result of economic wealth, education, employment or marriage. Their middle-class status involves a complicated set of choices, performances and practices relating to the kind of education they receive, marriage to the 'right' kind of man by a certain age and, for the younger generation of women, participation in the global economy through appropriate professions. Participants in Mumbai, the so-called 'modem girls', work in the outsourcing industry. Their jobs allow economic mobility but have led to struggles associated with derogatory societal views due to their nightshift work and its perceived links with sexual freedom. These women seek to reinvent expectations of 'good' middle-class womanhood, by providing financial support to other family members or through religious observances. The role of the media in shaping discourses of marriage, mothering and contemporary Indian womanhood is also examined and reveals how young women are required to embody a range of contradictions; for example, as sexually appealing yet virtuous, independent yet family-oriented women. The symbolic capital both generations accrue as educated individuals who prioritise the family cements their position as respectable, middle-class women while engaging with the economic and cultural shifts that have come with liberalisation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available