Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Gail Hollander

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Elisabeth Prugl

Third Advisor's Name

Francois Debrix

Fourth Advisor's Name

Laura Ogden

Keywords

Indian womanhood, Hindutva, Globalization, Corporate media, Patriarchy, Indian middle class, India, Media women, Religious nationalism, Gender, Feminism

Date of Defense

7-14-2010

Abstract

This study examines the impact of globalization and religious nationalism on the personal and professional lives of urban Hindu middle class media women. The research demonstrates how newly strengthened forces of globalization and Hindutva shape Indian womanhood. The research rests on various data that reveal how Indian women interpret and negotiate constructed identities. The study seeks to give voice to the objectified by scrutinizing and challenging the stereotypical modern faces of Indian womanhood seen in the narratives of globalization and Hindutva.

Feminist open-ended interviewing was conducted in English and Hindi in New Delhi, the capital of India, with 23 Hindu women, employed by electronic and print media corporations. Accumulated data were analyzed and interpreted using feminist critical discourse analysis. Findings from the study indicate that while the Indian middle class women have embraced professional opportunities presented by globalization, they remain circumscribed by mutating gender politics. The research also finds that as academic and professional progress empower the women within their homes, their public lives have become fraught with increasing gender violence and decreasing recourse to justice. Therefore, women accept the power stratification of their lives as being dependent on spatial and temporal distinctions, and have learnt to engage and strategize with the public environment for physical safety and personal-professional progress. While the media women see systemic masculine domination as being symbiotic with tenets of religious nationalism, they exhibit an unquestioned embracing of capitalism/globalization as the means of empowerment. My research also strongly indicates the importance of the media’s role in shaping gender dynamics in a global context. In conclusion, my research shows the mediawomen’s immense agency in pursuing academic and professional careers while being aware of deeply ingrained gender roles through their strong commitment towards their families.

The findings of this study contribute to the literature on Third World nationalism, urban globalization and understandings of reworked-renewed masculine domination. Finally, the study also engages with recent scholarship on the Indian middle class (See Nanda 2010; Shenoy 2009; Lukose 2005; and Radhakrishnan 2006) while simultaneously addressing the notions of privilege and disengagement levied at the middle class woman, a symbiosis of idealization and imprisonment.

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