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Women Bargaining with Patriarchy in Rural Pakistan: A Case Study of Khairpur, Sindh

Agha, Nadia (2015) Women Bargaining with Patriarchy in Rural Pakistan: A Case Study of Khairpur, Sindh. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates how young married women in rural Sindh commonly strategize and negotiate with patriarchy. I set out to elaborate the kinship system in the villages of Khairpur, Sindh in order to understand women's lives in different phases such as puberty, marriage, motherhood and when they become mothers-in-law. A theoretical framework informed by Deniz Kandiyoti's (1988) concept of ‘the patriarchal bargain’ supported by Sylvia Walby's (1990, 2011) notion of ‘private patriarchy’ or ‘private gender regime’ is utilized to explore women's bargaining strategies for survival. Between June and September of 2012, I conducted fieldwork in six different villages in Khairpur district using observation, interviews with women aged between 15-30 years and three focus group discussions. Based on women’s accounts and on observation of village life, I focus on the negative consequences of women’s location within consanguineous marriages, the gendered division of labour and the extended family system. Women’s situation is further exacerbated by low level of education and early marriages which burden their lives from a very young age. The study reveals the strong relationship between poverty and the perpetuation of patriarchy; all the cultural practices that contribute to women’s subordination are designed to counter social insecurity. The strategies that women employ for their survival centre on improving their esteem before their family members such as attention to household tasks, producing children, and doing craft work to generate extra money for the family's well-being. These conditions are usually seen as evidence of women’s subordination, but they are also actively adopted strategies for survival where accommodation to patriarchy is what wins them approval. I conclude that women’s life-long struggle is in fact a technique of negotiating with patriarchy, and, in so doing, they not only internalize the culture which rests on their subordination but also reproduce it in older age in exercising power by oppressing other junior women.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Patriarchy, Sindh, Women, Patriarchal Bargain, Power and Oppression
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Women's Studies (York)
Depositing User: Ms Nadia Agha
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2015 16:41
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2015 16:41
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10710

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