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Title:"Is My Honor Not Honor?": Women's Narratives of Marriage, Violence and Culture in Lahaul, India
Author(s):Bhattacharya, Himika
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Paula Treichler
Department / Program:Communications
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:My feminist ethnographic project involving three years of fieldwork documents and historicizes life histories of women at different stages in their life span from the little studied Himalayan valley of Lahaul India. More specifically the project focuses on marriage by abduction, a traditional Lahauli practice of marriage, which in its current form is experienced by many women as violence, along with other forms of sexual and domestic violence that are more prevalent in the rest of India. From these experiences emerges the central argument of my dissertation---that the current vocabulary of sexual violence in India (primarily categorized as rape) is defined by legal, political, media, and bio-medical discourses which need to be challenged and replaced by foregrounding the importance of women's own understandings and definitions of marriage by abduction, sexual violence, rape and honor. I illustrate how theoretical interventions are performed by women as they challenge definitions of rape within the patriarchal discourses of honor, tribe, and nation. Further, I demonstrate how silence also operates as discourse to support and resist these patriarchal discourses. To do this, I employ recent conceptualizations of language, silence, and feminist ethnography to better understand the operations of culture. I examine cultural processes that cut across multiple social movements and communication practices to articulate local women's understandings of violence in their lives. I argue that these experiences need to be considered in shaping the policies that directly affect women's lives.
Issue Date:2008
Description:242 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3337700
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2008

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