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Men, Women, and Domestics: Articulating Middle-Class Identity in Colonial Bengal

Swapna M. Banerjee (Author)
Synopsis By reclaiming the historical relationship between domesticity, housework, and domestic service in colonial Bengal, men, women, and domestics contributes to a comprehensive understanding of domestic politics in the construction of national identity. Swapna M. Banerjee provides new insights into the Bengali middle-class perception of domestic workers, a subject that has not received much scholarly attention in social history writing in India. Focusing upon stories of employers and servants, she demonstrates how caste--class formation among the predominantly Hindu Bengali middle class depended much upon its relationships with the subordinate social groups, of which domestic workers formed an integral part. Examining a wide variety of literary and official sources, the book establishes that the articulation of the Bengali middle class self-identity was predicated on the definition of its women, who in turn, were carefully distinguished from members of lower socio-economic groups. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of South Asian history, gender studies, culture and social anthropology, as well as the growing readership of cross-cultural and comparative studies on the institutions of family, domesticity, domestic labour and related forms of servitude.
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Bibliographic information

Title Men, Women, and Domestics: Articulating Middle-Class Identity in Colonial Bengal
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195666135
length xii+247p., Tables.