ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

21- Panel Title: Violence against women in South Asian countries

This panel aims to identify, analyse and theorise on experiences, narratives, responses and representations concerning violence against women in public and private spheres.

Convenors

Nandini Gooptu - Department of International Development, University of Oxford, UK
Monika Browarczyk - Institute of Oriental Studies, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland
Adrija Dey - Social Sciences, University of Westminster, UK

Long Abstract

This panel aims to identify, analyse and theorise on experiences, narratives, responses and representations concerning violence against women in public and private spheres.

Public incidents of gender-based violence and brutality routinely capture headlines in South Asian countries, while political discourses and policies impose drastic setbacks on women’s rights. Meanwhile, private forms of violence – at home, work or in the community – are endemic and happen away from the public eye. India’s National Family Health Survey, 2019-21, for example, reported that only 14% of surveyed women who experienced violence sought help or told anyone.

At the same time, path-breaking laws (e.g., India’s Act on workplace sexual harassment), public activism (e.g., Delhi Shaheen Bagh occupation) and feminist resistance have grown stronger and challenged sexism, misogyny and patriarchy within families, institutions and the authoritarian state. The #Metoo movement generated debates around the normalisation of institutional violence and gendered power through an intersectional lens. However, while feminist voices and demands to break the silence grew louder, survivors and those who speak out have borne the cost – physical, emotional, reputational, and financial.

We invite papers to examine how cultural, historical, political, social and economic factors configure gendered social worlds and generate the conditions for everyday violence and its constant threat – particularly in private, and how women experience and negotiate such violence. We also explore representations of gendered violence in literature, cinema/TV, digital and social media, in all languages, to understand larger public discourses pertaining to laws and resistance against violence as well as gendered violence in communal conflict, ethno-national or Naxalite insurgencies and the COVID pandemic. Finally, we welcome papers on activism to assess critically the losses, gains and imaginations of feminist movements.