November 1, 2010

New in Paperback The Enigma of the Kerala Woman

A Failed Promise of Literacy
Edited by Swapna Mukhopadhyay

'I am very interested to learn about your book on Kerala women which you have just published. I look forward to getting hold of a copy and reading it. ...I know Swapna’s work and expect it to be very interesting and good. ...I will, ... personally benefit greatly … [from] the book.'
Nobel Laureate and Lamont University Professor, Harvard University

‘The strength of this book is its methodological pluralism and combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. The photographs and narratives support the essays by providing a glimpse into the everyday processes of the social construc­tion of gender. … It is an important resource for the body of research which demonstrates that only policies that are informed by an under­standing of entrenched power structures and explicitly target it can produce trans­formative and empowering outcomes. Its wide-angled overview drawing upon a range of recent academic work on Kerala opens up many possibilities for further detailed research.’
Economic and Political Weekly

203 pages 215x140 mm Paperback 14 b/w photographs (visual anthropology)
First Hardback edition in 2007
Rs 295
ISBN 978-81-87358-44-2
Pub date 2011

The Enigma of the Kerala Woman: A Failed Promise of Literacy consists of multi-disciplinary research carried out on various aspects of gender relations in Kerala by scholars from a range of social science disciplines under The Gender Network, a regional network of researchers investigating the phenomenon of gender under varied social and economic settings. The introductory chapter provides an overarching framework for the individual studies. Breaking new ground in analytical and methodological dimensions of Women’s Studies, the papers collectively seek to provide an answer to the ‘enigma’ of the Kerala woman.

The book comes alive through two separate sections. The first one is devoted to case studies of women from the area of research and the second to photographs of Kerala women in various social settings with detailed anthropological captions. The two sections complement each other in supporting the main theme of the book. The book has a rich body of data which provides comparative figures relating to development indices for Kerala in relation to some other states as well as India as a whole.

Preface and Acknowledgements
List of Contributors

Section 1
1. Understanding the Enigma of Women’s Status in Kerala: Does High Literacy Necessarily Translate into High Status? - Swapna Mukhopadhyay
2. Gender Disparity in Kerala: A Critical Reinterpretation - S. Irudaya Rajan and Sreerupa
3. Mental Health, Gender Ideology and Women’s Status in Kerala - Swapna Mukhopadhyay, Jayanti Basu and S. Irudaya Rajan
4. Re-forming Women in Malayalee Modernity: A Historical Overview- J. Devika and Avanti Mukherjee
5. Living as a Woman: Some Case Studies
6. Gender Disparity in Kerala: Some Visual Images

Swapna Mukhopadhyay
is former Professor of Economics at the Institute of Economic Growth and former Director at the Institute of Social Studies Trust, New Delhi. She is currently involved as an advisor in some international development projects and occasionally teaches courses in Economics at various universities in the city. She also plays the violin and teaches Western classical music at the Delhi School of Music.

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