Generating Solidarity Through Everyday Practices: Experiences Of A Rural Women’S Movement In India

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The scholarship on everyday politics has largely focussed on forms of resistance, foregrounding a conception of political agency that is premised on the assumption of an autonomous consciousness of marginalized subjects. Distinct from accounts of organized collective action which focus on the articulation of shared interests and the achievement of particular outcomes, the central concern has been to establish political agency through actions and intentions of subaltern actors. In this thesis, I examine the experiences of a rural women's movement in the hill region of Uttarakhand in India, which emerged as a consequence of organizing primarily in the arena of everyday practices. I focus on the emergence of 'solidarity', as opposed to 'resistance', and on critical consciousness as a method of organizing, as opposed to an attribute of subaltern subjects, to highlight a relational conception of power and how it is experienced and challenged in particular forms. Based on interviews with movement leaders, activists and participants, and observations of their interactions in 2009, I reflect on why the focus on collective enactments of everyday practices opened up political spaces for women and shaped the conditions of possibility for social mobilizations on specific issues. Organizing strategies of activists emphasize thinking and working through practices, privileging women's experiences and everyday work and activities. I argue that such an approach illustrates how contingency is constitutive of the political. It shows that the process of forging an unstable solidarity premised on addressing conflicts through historically informed practices, which sometimes crystallises to achieve specific outcomes. The trajectory of the formation of this movement, thus, also illustrates how everyday politics and social mobilizations geared toward achieving specific outcomes draw on each other.
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Everyday politics; womens movement
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Union Local
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Feldman, Shelley
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Wolford, Wendy W.
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Development Sociology
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M.S., Development Sociology
Degree Level
Master of Science
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Government Document
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dissertation or thesis
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