The aim of this paper is to tease out the factors and forces that enable women to form communities of women and the circumstances within which they act. In addition, the research aims to observe into their activities to see if there is a germination of gender consciousness even if in a nascent form. Taking off from a historical vantage point of women coming together for various kinds of social and political action, the paper tries to delve into the epistemological dilemma encountered by feminist politics, where the subject of feminist politics i.e., women, is presented as a problematic category. Gender is understood not as a sole defining category but one that exists alongside other constituents of identities intersecting with it like class, caste, race, ethnicity etc. Given such an understanding the paper is based on a micro-level qualitative study conducted in an urban set-up of Guwahati city where two different kinds of locality-based womenâ€™s communities are taken as case studies, one of which is an all-women local neighbourhood development committee and the other a womenâ€™s forum within a gated community. The interesting contrasts as well as complexities of the groups in their membership as well their cultures are analysed to raise questions on whether such groups serve patriarchal interests or whether they present themselves as potential sites through which social change towards a more gender-conscious society can be made possible.
Communities of Women, Guwahati, Feminist Epistemology, Social Change, Patriarchy, Assam, India
Syeda Sakira Sahin
Assistant Professor, Department of Women's Studies
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