Publication : Gender, Status and Migration of Nurses in India

 Nair Sreelekha, Moving with the Times. Gender, Status and Migration of Nurses in India. New Delhi : Routledge, 2012

« This book is an attempt to penetrate the silence that surrounds the lives of nurses as migrant women. It offers a perceptive understanding of the trials faced specifically by women from the state of Kerala, in their personal and professional spheres, in the challenges posed to single women migrants as such, and the lower status ascribed to the job. In highlighting aspects of their lived experiences, it reveals how the identities of gender, class and ethnicity unmask the realities behind claims of egalitarianism and equal citizenship. Nurses from Kerala form one of the largest groups of migrant women workers in the international service sector along with Filipinos and Sri Lankans. Comparatively better salaries, work opportunities and financial independence, along with a desire to travel across the world, are often the reasons behind these migrations. For many of these women, the professional choice of nursing is usually the first step towards migration, while finding employment in Delhi, the urban capital of India, is intended as a transition point before they migrate abroad, a trajectory which may remain unrealised. In focusing on nurses who choose to work in Delhi, the author recounts how the patriarchy of the original place is recreated and relived in destination cities. In as much as traditional stigmatisation of nursing (as a ‘dirty’ profession), deeply entrenched gender prejudices, and status and role anxieties act as deterrents, these women remain undaunted in the face of adversities and treat their exposure to, and experience of, technology and nursing care in the bigger hospitals in Delhi as part of the training that is required to apply abroad. Through extensive empirical research, case studies and personal interviews, Moving with the Times illustrates nurses’ lives in Delhi, providing an account of the dynamics — between traditional patriarchy, norms and associated identities, low professional status and marginality coupled at once with the sense of personal freedom, a new career and space — that migration compels these women to negotiate. This book will appeal to scholars of sociology, gender and women’s studies, nursing and healthcare, and those interested in migration and identities. »

Contents :

« Introduction 

1. Beyond Well-being: Development of Nursing as a Modern Profession in Kerala

2.Status of Nursing: The Sword of Damocles?

3. Choice of Nursing: A Life Strategy

4. Migration: Delhi as a Transit Residence

5. Reconstructing Identities: Diasporic Politics and Gender in Delhi 

Conclusion « 

Book: Chinese Society

Tania Angeloff, Histoire de la société chinoise, 1949-2009, Paris, Editions La Découverte (Repères 545), 2010

Work, social stratification, ethnic group, men-women relations, etc…all the aspects of Chinese society since 1949 are examined in this highly original work, that blends together the fields of history and sociology for a better understanding of Chinese society and how she arrived to such modernity – unique in its practical details ?”

“Avec plus d’un milliard trois cent trente millions d’habitants, la société chinoise fascine ou effraie. Depuis 1949, elle a connu l’arrivée des communistes au pouvoir, le maoïsme et l’ère des réformes à partir de Deng Xiaoping. À l’heure d’un libéralisme économique ouvertement capitaliste, elle vit une mutation socioéconomique accélérée, tandis qu’officiellement le régime politique reste une « dictature démocratique du peuple ».
Comment la Chine en est-elle arrivée à cette modernité ? Comment un régime autoritaire peut-il organiser et réguler l’ouverture économique et sociale ? Entre ruptures et continuités, la société chinoise est ici abordée sous de multiples angles : éducation, travail, santé, appartenance ethnique, migrations, rapports hommes-femmes, jeunesse, inégalités sociales, mouvements de contestation et de résistance.
La progression chronologique permet de se repérer dans les soixante années mouvementées qu’a traversées le peuple chinois ; les nombreux encadrés apportent des éclairages précis et des données récentes sur des aspects souvent méconnus de la société, au-delà des clichés sur la modernisation chinoise et ses acteurs à l’aube du XXIe siècle. »

Book: Caste, Gender and Science

Abha Sur, Dispersed Radiance: Caste, Gender, and Modern Science in India, New Delhi, Navayana, 2011

“This book is a step toward writing a socially informed history of physics in India in the first half of the twentieth century. Through a series of micro histories of physics, Abha Sur analyzes the confluence of caste, nationalism, and gender in modern science in India, and unpacks the colonial context in which science was organized. She examines the constraints of material reality and ideologies on the production of scientific knowledge, and discusses the effect of the personalities of dominant scientists on the institutions and academies they created. The bulk of the book examines the science and scientific practice of India’s two preeminent physicists in the first half of the twentieth century, C.V. Raman and Meghnad Saha. Raman and Saha were—in terms of their social station, political involvement, and cultural upbringing—diametric opposites. Raman came from an educated Tamil brahmin family steeped in classical art forms, and Saha from an uneducated rural family of modest means and underprivileged caste status in eastern Bengal. Sur also reconstructs a collective history of Raman’s women students—Lalitha Chandrasekhar, Sunanda Bai, and Anna Mani—each a scientist who did not get her due.”

Dispersed Radiance makes an important contribution to the social history of science. It provides a nuanced and critical understanding of the role and location of science in the construction of Indian modernity and in the continuation of social stratification in colonial and postcolonial contexts.”

Abha Sur teaches in the MIT Program in Women’s & Gender Studies in Massachusetts, Cambridge