Gender, Class and Reflexive Modernity in India
This book examines how middle class women in India engage with divergent cultural discourses of respectability and individualism to make sense of their work and family lives. Based on in-depth interviews amongst women employed in the Indian IT industry, it argues that women attempt to conform to the individualist values of reflexive modernity by drawing on collective bonds within their families. It contends that the expansion of personal and professional choices does not always result in greater individualization but increases women's sense of responsibility for the consequences of their choices. As a result women's narratives of self are collective rather than individual projects, which are created in relationship with others. In this manner the book highlights the gender-specific and culturally specific consequences of reflexive modernity in neo-liberal India. CONTENTS 1. Setting Out to Study Class and Gender in Contemporary India 2. Interrogating Reflexive Modernity 3. The ‘New’ Indian Middle Class Woman 4. Individualism and Responsibility: Women’s Relationships Within Their Families 5. Women’s Relationships with Paid Work in the Transnational Economy 6. Managing Paid Employment and Family Life 7. Relational Reflexivity, Individual Choice and ‘Respectable Modernity’ Conclusion: The Collective Project of Self ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jyothsna Latha Belliappa is Associate Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Azim Premji University in India.