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Social Sciences - Anthropology & Archaeology | Women, Wellbeing, and the Ethics of Domesticity in an Odia Hindu Temple Town

Women, Wellbeing, and the Ethics of Domesticity in an Odia Hindu Temple Town

Menon, Usha

2013, XIX, 244 p. 9 illus.

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  • ​It presents a cultural model of subjective or psychological wellbeing
  • It is a fine-grained analysis of a particular paradigm of domesticity
  • It examines the degree to which individual liberty and gender equality—the values espoused by liberal feminism—are universally relevant  

This book is a detailed ethnography of traditional, predominantly upper-caste, sequestered Hindu women in the temple town of Bhubaneswar in Odisha, a state in eastern India.  It elaborates on a distinctive paradigm of domesticity and explicates a particular model of human wellbeing among this category. Part of the growing literature in “third wave” or “multicultural feminism”, it seeks to broaden the parameters of feminist discourse by going beyond questions of individual liberty or gender equality to examine the potential for female empowerment that exists in the context of these women’s lives. Its aims are twofold: first, to represent these women in ways that they themselves would recognize; and, second, to interpret, rather than merely “translate”, the beliefs and practices of the temple town such that their underlying logic becomes readily accessible to readers, even those unfamiliar with the Hindu world.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Ethics of domesticity - Goddess worship - Hindu women in temple town - Odia/Oriya Hindu women - Orissa/Odisha ethnography - Women and subjective wellbeing in India

Related subjects » Anthropology & Archaeology - Social Sciences

Table of contents 

Chapter 1: Women, Wellbeing and the Ethics of Domesticity: An Introduction.- Chapter 2: Entering the Temple Town of Bhubaneswar.- Chapter 3: Odia Hindu Ways of Thinking.- Chapter 4: Perceptions of Femaleness.- Chapter 5: Images of the Life Course.- Chapter 6: Managing the Household: Achieving Control, Being Productive, Distributing Resources.- Chapter 7: The Auspicious Heart: Dominance, Productivity, and Coherence.- Chapter 8: Managing Life and its Processes.- Chapter 9: The Temple Town as a Microcosm.- Chapter 10: Conclusions.

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