Gender, Ethnicity and Political Agency
South Asian Women Organizing
Routledge – 2013 – 246 pages
This book examines how South Asian women’s collective agency is operationalized through civic organizations in the UK. Drawing on black feminist theory and third world feminism, it shows the complexity of political agency and its relationship to identity and subjectivity, and uses empirical research to demonstrate how women are empowered to resist domination. The historically racialized image of the South Asian woman as lacking in political agency is challenged through their long history of activism on the Indian subcontinent. The creation of "critical spaces" by South Asian women in the diaspora places them as active agents who have successfully influenced social policy on important issues such as forced marriage, domestic violence and sexuality. The engagement with the empirical data demonstrates the significance and impact of race, racism, sexism and religion on the lives of the women. The book brings to the fore the pursuit of equality, rights and justice, including multiculturalism and the often debated emancipatory role of religion.
1. Redefining the Parameters of Political Activism: South Asian Women "Rocking the Stereotype" 2. Conceptualizing South Asian Women’s Political Activism Through a Feminist Lens 3. Understanding Historical Representations: Political Agency, Resistance and the Role of Discourses 4. Researching Political Agency 5. "Race," Agency and Political Activism 6. "In the Name of the Father": Contours of Gender Relations 7. Conceptualizing the Uneasy Relationship of Religion to Political Agency 8. Conclusion
Shaminder Takhar is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at London South Bank University.