Social Scientist. v 28, no. 322-323 (Mar-April 2000) p. 1.


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JASODHARA BAGCHI

The Pre-text

Culture is rapidly becoming one of the major issues in globalization because it provides the images - and the underlying values - with which people construct their views of the world... the flooding of commodities with a different cultural content will lead not only to changes in the style of living of individuals and societies, but also in their philosophical, ethical and relational values.

(Lourdes and Ginmai, 1999)

Subjects, if and when constructed, are not only built... on the basis of civil societies ... but as prolpngation of communal resistance ...

(Casteles, 1997 cited in above)

How does the gendered aspect of cultural representation stand up to the push and pull of the politics of globalization and the politics of identity? On the occasion of a conference, organized by the Indian Association of Women's Studies in Pune a couple of years ago, which focussed on sovereignty and survival, a number of analysts of cultural representation in India got together and deliberated on this current predicament. The articles that follow are a selection from these.

The process of what Simone de Beauvoir called 'becoming woman' is, inexorably, a political one, embedded, as it is, in the power imbalance within social organizations that perpetuate inequity through patriarchal control over women. This is the ubiquitous mode that reinforces class-caste exploitation along ethnicity and religious identities.

What has been called, in liberal parlance, 'subjection of women' is, however not just a social pathology that can be extracted like a rotten tooth. Subtle processes of consensus building deployed by ideological apparatuses hold the hegemonic domination in place. Gender representation in the media has rightly been identified by feminists as a site for interrogation with the professed aim of gaining a critical edge to resistance against such manipulative domination. This does, one must admit, involve a subtler and richer reading of the



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