ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Masculinities and Hierarchies in Haryana

Gender, Power and Identity: Essays on Masculinities in Rural North India by Prem Chowdhry, Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2019; pp vii + 288, 795.


The volume under review, Gender, Power and Identity: Essays on Masculinities in Rural North India by Prem Chowdhry, is a collection of essays based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork over several years in the state of Haryana. The book highlights the deb­ates on gender binaries and how they are shaped and moulded with the help of folklore, customs, and societal laws under a patriarchal system. The essays range from a historical account of the making of “martial castes,” to the upward mobility of the lower castes, thus creating fissures in the society. Chowdhry has discussed different facets of masculinity in her book. In the introduction to the book, she has laid down the themes constructing a male, his space, his powers, and his limitations. The intersectional and relational linkages between different genders have been highlighted throughout the book.

Gender is an identity that is reproduced with experiences and repetition of certain acts which have popular support of those who wield power in society (Butler 1988). As per this structural division of labour, men have been made breadwinners and decision-makers while women have been consigned to unpaid domestic labour; which leads to endorse­ment of patriarchal desires like male-child preference and moral policing. Hence, something which is considered as an individual act is, in fact, borne out of the hegemonic power structure.

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Updated On : 18th Apr, 2021
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