Journal article / Women’s Labour, Patriarchy and Feminism in 21st Century Kerala

Devika, J. ‘Women’s Labour, Patriarchy and Feminism in Twenty-first Century Kerala: Reflections on the Glocal Present’. Review of Development and Change. Published ahead of print, 16 May 2019.

Abstract: This article focuses on two sites in late 20th to early 21st century Malayali society to examine the transformative effects of global flows on the gender dynamics of each—labour and feminist interventions—to reflect on the shape of, and resistance to, post-liberalisation patriarchy in Kerala.

As is well known, labour migration to the Persian Gulf from Kerala from the 1970s has been a decisive flow that has impacted all aspects of life in the state. Its impact on the family as a procreative unit has, however, been only probed superficially.

I argue that the opening of the global job market, combined with other features of contemporary Malayali society, has transformed the very functioning of the nuclear family unit.

In feminist politics, global flows have led to the surfacing of several ‘regulative universals’, and these flows take place through a variety of channels. The clash now is no longer between the indigenous and the foreign, but between ‘glocally generated’ hybrids.

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Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup.

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