SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Contesting the Intensification of Women's Labour in Neoliberal India

Dr Kalpana Wilson (Gender Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)

Date: 12 January 2016Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 12 January 2016Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G3

Type of Event: Seminar

Contemporary population interventions by states, international organisations and corporates have been effectively reframed in feminist terms of reproductive rights and choices, while continuing to perpetuate and rely upon structural and embodied violence and racialised and gendered constructions of disposability, hypersexuality and excess. The 21st century resurgence of population control and its reframing cannot be fully understood, however, except in relation to current processes of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ to which the intensification of women’s labour, and its mobilisation for global capital, is central. While approaches based on reproductive justice can potentially expose the violence which is elided in the discourse of individual rights and choices, they need to engage not only with gendered relations of power in households and communities but also with the complex of local, national and global forces which combine with them to render certain bodies ‘disposable’. This also implies locating struggles for reproductive justice in the context of other forms of ongoing resistance to neoliberal dispossession. Taking as a starting point the Indian state’s targeting of poor, Adivasi and Dalit women for coercive mass sterilizations, these questions will be explored in the context of the symbiotic relationships between gendered violence, neoliberal development, and the Hindu right in contemporary India. The seminar will go on to consider multiple ways in which the extension and intensification of women’s labour is being resisted, and their implications for rethinking reproductive justice.


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Contesting the Intensification of Women's Labour in Neoliberal India, Kalpana Wilson

Kalpana Wilson is Senior LSE Fellow in Gender Theory, Globalisation and Development at the Gender Institute, London School of Economics. She has written and researched extensively on agrarian transformation in Bihar in India, women's participation in rural labour movements, concepts of agency, the appropriation of feminist ideas within neoliberal discourses, and the ways in which race is inscribed within development. Her most recent book, Race, Racism and Development: interrogating history, discourse and practice (2012), published by Zed Books, places racism and constructions of race at the centre of an exploration of the dominant discourses, structures and practices of development. Combining insights from post-colonial and critical race theory with a political economy framework, it puts forward provocative theoretical analyses of the relationships between development, race, capital, embodiment and resistance in historical and contemporary contexts.

Organiser: Professor Alfredo Saad Filho or Dr Feyzi Ismail

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Contact Tel: 020 7898 4504 or 020 7898 4723