Negotiating Local Cultural Space in a Global World: Joint Efforts at Meaning-Making and the Reconfiguration of Normative Womanhood in India

  • Monalisa Gangopadhyay


This chapter examines the impact of the clash between two seemingly oppositional ideologies of conservative religious nationalism, specifically, Hindutva, and globalization, on the lives of urban Hindu middle-class media women. Using feminist methodology, the study investigates how this specific group of Indian women interprets and negotiates constructed identities and the ever-evolving narratives of globalization and Hindutva. Data accumulated through open-ended interviews, from secondary resources and through author participation, is coded and interpreted using qualitative discourse analysis. Findings from the study indicate that while the Indian middle-class women have embraced professional opportunities offered by globalization, as sexed bodies they remain circumscribed by gendered institutions and violence. Therefore, women have learned to engage and strategize with existing power structures for physical safety and personal-professional progress. The findings of this study contribute to the literature on Indian nationalism, urban globalization, understandings of reworked-renewed patriarchy and women’s agency.


  1. Ackerly, Brooke, and Jacqui True. 2010. Doing Feminist Research in Political and Social Science. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmed-Ghosh, Huma. 2003. Writing the Nation on the Beauty Queen’s Body: Implications for a ‘Hindu’ Nation. Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 4 (1): 205–227.Google Scholar
  3. Althusser, L. 1970. Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses. In Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, Trans. from French by Ben Brewster, 121–176. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  4. Blanchard, Eric M. 2003. Gender, International Relations, and the Development of Feminist Security Theory. Signs 28 (4): 1289–1312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cheng, Cliff. 1999. Marginalized Masculinities and Hegemonic Masculinity: An Introduction. The Journal of Men’s Studies 7 (3): 295–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Connell, R.W. 1987. Gender and Power: Society, The Person, and Sexual Politics. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Das, Runa. 2002. Engendering Post-colonial Nuclear Policies Through the Lens of Hindutva: Rethinking the Security Paradigm of India. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 22 (1–2): 76–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. D’Cruze, Shani, and Anupama Rao. 2005. Violence, Vulnerability and Embodiment: Gender and History. Oxford: Blackwell-Wiley.Google Scholar
  9. Deutsch, Nancy L. 2004. Positionality and the Pen: Reflections on the Process of Becoming a Feminist Researcher and Writer. Qualitative Inquiry 10 (6): 885–902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Domosh, Mona, and Joni Seager. 2001. Putting Women in Place: Feminist Geographers Make Sense of the World. New York: Guilford Publications.Google Scholar
  11. Foucault, M. 1980. “Body/Power” and “Truth and Power.”. In Michel Foucault: Power/Knowledge, ed. C. Gordon. Brighton: Harvester.Google Scholar
  12. Grant, Rebecca, and Kathleen Newland. 1991. Gender and International Relations. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Grosz, Elizabeth. 2001. Architecture from the Outside: Essays on Virtual and Real Space. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hall, Stuart. 1973. Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse. Media Series 7: 1–19.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 1980. Introduction to Media Studies at the Centre. In Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. In Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972–79, ed. Stuart Hall, Doothy Hobson, Andrew Lowe, and Paul Willis, 117–121. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  16. Hanson, Susan, and Janice Monk. 1982. On Not Excluding Half of the Human in Human Geography. The Professional Geographer 34 (1): 11–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Harding, Sandra. 1987. Is There a Feminist Method? In Feminism and Methodology, ed. Sandra Harding, 1–14. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  18. ———, ed. 2004. The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Hawkesworth, Mary E. 2006. Feminist Inquiry: From Political Conviction to Methodological Innovation. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Inkson, Kerr, Svetlana N. Khapova, and Polly Parker. 2007. Careers in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Career Development International 12 (1): 5–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jones, John Paul, III, Heidi J. Nast, and Susan M. Roberts. 1997. Thresholds in Feminist Geography: Difference, Methodology, Representation. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  22. Kandiyoti, Deniz. 1988. Bargaining with Patriarchy. Gender and Society 2 (3): 274–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Locher, Birgit, and Elisabeth Prügl. 2001. Feminism and Constructivism: Worlds Apart or Sharing the Middle Ground? International Studies Quarterly 45 (1): 111–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lukose, Ritty. 2005. Consuming Globalization: Youth and Gender in Kerala, India. Journal of Social History 38 (4): 129–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mahajan, Preeti. 2009. Use of Social Networking in a Linguistically and Culturally Rich India. The International Information and Library Review 41 (3): 129–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Massey, Doreen. 1994. Space, Place and Gender. Malden: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  27. Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 1991. Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarships and Colonial Discourses. In Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism, ed. Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Ann Russi, and Lourdes Torres, 51–81. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Nagar, Richa, Victoria Lawson, Linda McDowell, and Susan Hanson. 2002. Locating Globalization: Feminist (Re)readings of the Subjects and Spaces of Globalization. Economic Geography 78 (3): 257–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nanda, Meera. 2010. The God Market: How Globalization Made India More Hindu. Gurgaon, India: Random House.Google Scholar
  30. Narayan, Uma. 2000. Undoing the ‘Package Picture’ of Cultures. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 25 (4): 1083–1086.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Oza, Rupal. 2006. The Making of Neoliberal India: Nationalism, Gender, and the Paradoxes of Globalization. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 2007. The Geography of Hindu Right-Wing Violence in India. In Violent Geographies: Fear, Terror and Political Violence, ed. Derek Gregory and Allan Pred. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Peterson, V. Spike. 1992. Gendered States: Feminist (Re) Visions of International Relations Theory. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  34. Puri, Jyoti. 1999. Woman, Body, Desire in Post-Colonial India. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Rajan, Rajeswari Sunder. 2004. “Rethinking Law and Violence: The Domestic Violence (Prevention) Bill in India,” 2002. Gender & History 16 (3): 769–793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ramazanoglu, Caroline, and Janet Holland. 2002. Feminist Methodology: Challenges and Choices. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Reinharz, Shulamit. 1992. Feminist Methods in Social Research. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Sangari, Kumkum, and Sudesh Vaid. 1990. Recasting Women: Essays in Indian Colonial History. New Brunsiwck: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Sarkar, Tanika, and Sumit Sarkar. 2008. Women and Social Reform in Modern India: A Reader. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Sen, Swagata. 2009. The Moral Brigand. India Today, February 13, 2009.Google Scholar
  41. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 1983. In Other Worlds: Essay in Cultural Politics. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. Sunder Rajan, Rajeshwari. 1993. Real and Imagined Women: Gender, Culture and Post-Colonialism. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wolf, Diane L. 1996. Feminist Dilemmas in Fieldwork. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  44. Young, Iris Marion. 1990. Throwing Like a Girl and Other Essays in Feminist Philosophy and Social Theory. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Yuval-Davis, Nira. 1997. Gender & Nation. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monalisa Gangopadhyay
    • 1
  1. 1.DavieUSA

Personalised recommendations