The Silken Swing: The Cultural Universe of Dalit
The Silken Swing: The Cultural Universe of Dalit
Title : The Silken Swing: The Cultural Universe of Dalit
Price : 50 INR
Description :

The Silken Swing is written by  F. Franco, Jyotsna Macwan and Suguna Ramanathan (Eds.)

Offering a rare view from the bottom of the caste pyramid, this book shows how Dalit women perceive themselves and the world around them. It reveals how the caste and gender structures which govern their lives construct their subjectivities and also provide the tools of resistance -- the tools of negotiation rather than of confrontation. The book draws the reader into an intimate world, aiming to ‘let the women’s voices be heard, speaking of their understandings and their interactions.’

 

Selecting two villages in two talukas of Gujarat, India the book focuses on Vankar, Bhangi and Koli-Patel women. Some of the Vankar women are Christians, and their better education and health offer insight into the social indices of the different religious communities within the same caste. For instance, the female-male ratio is much higher among Christians while the girl child is particularly endangered among the Hindus.

 

The first part looks at the women’s day-to-day lives and the second considers some of their cultural expressions as preserved in their oral traditions. Songs and stories explore ways in which cultural artifacts function as normative prescriptions and expressive outlets.

 

Themes emerge relating to family relationships, sexuality, life-sustaining responsibilities and the presence of the Mother Goddesses. The discussion on marriage focuses on non-brahiminical contractual rites and practices that exist within a shell of borrowed brahminism, suggesting that the lower a woman is placed in the caste hierarchy, the greater is her ability to manoevre within her marriage.

 

Of particular interest is the exploration of work, indicating that women, however over-burdened, appropriate it to recover self-esteem and assert identity. A chapter on spaces shows how women modify patriarchal exclusion to carve out autonomous niches, which in turn exclude men.

 

The Silken Swing differs from earlier anthropological and sociological studies which saw South Asian women as passive victims caught in rigid systems of kinship and hierarchy. Instead, it leaves Dalit and Koli-Patel women with their own voices to articulate their perceptions and understanding of, and interactions with, their various environments.

 

A pathbreaking book that brings the vibrant world of Dalit women to the reader.

Offering a rare view from the bottom of the caste pyramid, this book shows how Dalit women perceive themselves and the world around them. It reveals how the caste and gender structures which govern their lives construct their subjectivities and also provide the tools of resistance -- the tools of negotiation rather than of confrontation. The book draws the reader into an intimate world, aiming to ‘let the women’s voices be heard, speaking of their understandings and their interactions.’

 

Selecting two villages in two talukas of Gujarat, India the book focuses on Vankar, Bhangi and Koli-Patel women. Some of the Vankar women are Christians, and their better education and health offer insight into the social indices of the different religious communities within the same caste. For instance, the female-male ratio is much higher among Christians while the girl child is particularly endangered among the Hindus.

 

The first part looks at the women’s day-to-day lives and the second considers some of their cultural expressions as preserved in their oral traditions. Songs and stories explore ways in which cultural artifacts function as normative prescriptions and expressive outlets.

 

Themes emerge relating to family relationships, sexuality, life-sustaining responsibilities and the presence of the Mother Goddesses. The discussion on marriage focuses on non-brahiminical contractual rites and practices that exist within a shell of borrowed brahminism, suggesting that the lower a woman is placed in the caste hierarchy, the greater is her ability to manoevre within her marriage.

 

Of particular interest is the exploration of work, indicating that women, however over-burdened, appropriate it to recover self-esteem and assert identity. A chapter on spaces shows how women modify patriarchal exclusion to carve out autonomous niches, which in turn exclude men.

 

The Silken Swing differs from earlier anthropological and sociological studies which saw South Asian women as passive victims caught in rigid systems of kinship and hierarchy. Instead, it leaves Dalit and Koli-Patel women with their own voices to articulate their perceptions and understanding of, and interactions with, their various environments.

 

A pathbreaking book that brings the vibrant world of Dalit women to the reader.

 

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