The Scandal of the State: Women, Law, and Citizenship in Postcolonial India - Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies (Hardback)
  • The Scandal of the State: Women, Law, and Citizenship in Postcolonial India - Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies (Hardback)
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The Scandal of the State: Women, Law, and Citizenship in Postcolonial India - Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies (Hardback)

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£90.00
Hardback 336 Pages / Published: 09/04/2003
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The Scandal of the State is a revealing study of the relationship between the postcolonial, democratic Indian nation-state and Indian women's actual needs and lives. Well-known for her work combining feminist theory and postcolonial studies, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan shows how the state is central to understanding women's identities and how, reciprocally, women and "women's issues" affect the state's role and function. She argues that in India law and citizenship define for women not only the scope of political rights but also cultural identity and everyday life. Sunder Rajan delineates the postcolonial state in implicit contrast with the "enlightened," postfeminist neoliberal state in the West. Her analysis wrestles with complex social realities, taking into account the influence of age, ethnicity, religion, and class on individual and group identities as well as the shifting, heterogeneous nature of the state itself.

The Scandal of the State develops through a series of compelling case studies, each of which centers around an incident exposing the contradictory position of the Indian state vis-a-vis its female citizens and, ultimately, the inadequacy of its commitment to women's rights. Sunder Rajan focuses on the custody battle over a Muslim child bride, the compulsory sterilization of mentally retarded women in state institutional care, female infanticide in Tamilnadu, prostitution as labor rather than crime, and the surrender of the female outlaw Phoolan Devi. She also looks at the ways the Uniform Civil Code presented many women with a stark choice between allegiance to their religion and community or the secular assertion of individual rights. Rich with theoretical acumen and activist passion, The Scandal of the State is a powerful critique of the mutual dependence of women and the state on one another in the specific context of a postcolonial modernity.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822330356
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 644 g
Dimensions: 238 x 162 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"The Scandal of the State is filled with Rajeswari Sunder Rajan's trademark scrupulousness and full documentation of opposing views, yet also with her characteristic wit and deep political wisdom. Her ultimate indictment of the realities of the Indian state is biting and utterly persuasive. This is a brilliant, pathbreaking book."-Bruce Robbins, author of Feeling Global: Internationalism in Distress
"Utterly specific to postcolonial India and its feminist debates, this book is also a significant contribution to general feminist theory and to the fraught question of the relationship of the postcolonial state to the 'international civil society.' Rajeswari Sunder Rajan uses 'high theory' occasionally, creatively, critically. All feminists (and, indeed, antifeminists) should read this book, if only to discover the one moment in this sober, meticulously researched, analytical text when political passion breaks through to the vision of a chilling dystopia."-Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, author of A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present
"A valuable addition to the tiny but growing body of work on the sociology of Indian law. The book is a fine-grained feminist reading of postcolonial Indian citizenship, as revealed in its various failures." -- Kriti Kapila * PoLAR *
"The . . . Rajan volume-appropriate for advanced undergraduate and graduate classes as well as the specialist in Indian politics-add[s] rich case studies to the well-established field of feminist postcolonial modernity, paving the way for future works to imagine effective feminist resistance." -- Paige Johnson Tan * Perspectives on Politics *

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