Social Scientist. v 18, no. 205-06 (June-July 1990) p. 93.

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Women and the Household in Asia

Leela Dube and Rajni Palriwala (ed.). Structures and Strategies, Sage

Publications, Delhi, 1989, pp. 284 , price: Rs. 195

Maithreyi Krishnaraj and Karuna Chariana (ed.). Gender and the

Household Domain, Sage Publications, Delhi, 1989, pp. 263, price: Rs.


The series under publication by Sage and edited by Leela Dube, acknowledges the fact that the lives of women in Asia are deeply embedded in the household and the family. The importance of studying family-structure and infra-household interaction, and their impact on work and production is, in a sense, an insight into the role of women as social actors in the papers brought together in the series. The focus is on the predicament of women and the importance of viewing the household in the broader socio-economic cultural context. The second objective of the series is to correct the erroneous view that there is an undifferentiated Asian model of gender relations, since the changing forms of division of labour and the wider economic processes, both national and international, constantly redefine the role of women in society and production. The ideology of seclusion, the proper place of women and hence their access to property, income, education and health are combined into a special blend of structural and cultural factors in each specific situation which then determine the outcome of women's struggle-tor equality and empowerment.

In the first volume the studies cover the population of Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Indonesia, South Korea. These countries are so varied in their socio-political framework and the 'business of living'; yet the present as also the future of the female is-threatened by crisis and change. Since the immediate business of living is clearly visible in the household it functions as the context of the studies. Why the household? Because it forms the unit of co-residence, consumption and reproduction and is often a production and economic unit as well. Distinctions in housework, income earning and work place are now emerging as a consequence of development. In these studies the linkage between household and kinship is considered

* College of Vocational Studies, Delhi University.

Social Scientist, Vol. 18, Nos. 6-7, June-July 1990

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