The Empowerment of Women in India

The Empowerment of Women in India

Product ID: 7820

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Author: Sangeetha Purushothaman
Publisher: Sage Publications
Year: 1998
Language: English
Pages: 384
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170366496


This book constitutes perhaps the first theoretical and analytical explication of grassroots
women's movements in India utilizing a synthesis of social movements theory, development theory and theories of the state.

Based on a case study of an informal network of non-governmental organizations and women’s collectives-the Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP-SPARC)-the author analyzes the implications of the form and nature of organizations for changing power relations and for fostering women’s autonomy vis-à-vis men and other social groups. The case study also demonstrates the need for an effectiveness of flexible forms of organizations in mobilizing resources for poor women and for facilitating their participation in the development process.

Deviating from contemporary social movements theory which emphasizes centralized organizational forms, Sangeetha Purushothaman amply demonstrates that a decentralized, loosely structured network of organizations can actually increase the visibility and participation of poor women, enable them to bargain for resources, and changes state policy, while simultaneously protecting the autonomy of the organizations involved.

The author has successfully combined a comparative theoretical perspective with a rich ethnographic account where the voices of rural women and activists are clearly heard. The result is a lucid account of grassroots activism which will attract a wide readership among those concerned with women in development, development studies, social movements, social theory, political science and sociology.


List of Tables

List of Charts

List of Appendices

Foreword by Charles Tilly

Preface and Acknowledgement


The Material Conditions Shaping Grassroots Women’s Lives and their Organizations

The Formation of the Swayam Shikwhan Prayog Network

A Reconceptualization of Social Movement Theory in the Context of Women’s Organizations in India

The Community Participation Approach

Engendering the State

The Process and Outcomes of Interaction in the Swayam Shikshan Prayog