OF NEO-LIBERAL INDIA: NATIONALISM, GENDER AND THE PARADOXES OF
Rs 300 Hb 2006
This book examines the impact of
globalization on the discourse on
Indian culture and identity. Though
concerned primarily with developments
following the liberalization of the economy
in the early 1990s, an extended history is provided
of each of the issues addressed, which reveals the gradual
mutations in definitions of ‘women’s liberation’ or
‘national security.’ Three sites of public debate are
explored — the introduction of satellite television
and the opening up of the
airwaves; the 1996 Miss World
pageant; and India’s declaration of nuclear weapons capability in 1998. Drawing on sources ranging from court cases to commercial advertising, the author tracks the efforts to realign the borders and boundaries of the nation-state through the rhetoric of safeguarding sexual mores and of masculine virility.
Rather than waning in significance under globalization, the author argues that the nation-state is made the reference point by representatives of the state as well as by civil society actors of diverse political persuasions, in an attempt to secure material and discursive control over identities. The anxiety with globalization is displaced onto gendered bodies, thereby aligning the scale of the body with the scale of the nation. These anxieties lead to efforts to police the boundaries of gendered behavior, or conversely to displays of military strength. The book concludes that it is critical to interrogate the categories of identity mobilized by ‘local resistance’ to globalization before valorizing this resistance.
is Associate Professor at
the Department of Geography and was Director of the Women's
Studies Programme at Hunter College, City University of New York.