Women, Family, and Child Care in India: A World in Transition

This book presents an in-depth study of 24 Hindu families, of different caste and class groups, who reside in a recently urbanizing part of India. Beginning with a two-year study of family organization and child-rearing practices in the mid-1960s, the author follows the lives of 132 children and their extended families over nearly three decades. The book focuses upon women - the socialization of girls and the significance of women’s roles through the life-cycle in a society where the patrifocal extended family is predominant. The effects of caste and class upon women’s lives are examined, together with the effects of recent schooling and delayed marriage. Longitudinal research makes it possible to examine the impact of recent urbanization and modernization upon groups of contemporary Indian women, whose voices and changing perspectives are captured in a series of intergenerational interviews that imply further change for Indian systems of family and gender.

• Longitudinal research, spanning nearly 30 years, of the same children and families • Comparative research on families from different caste and class groups and with different exposures to the forces of urbanization and modernization • Chapters on fieldwork techniques, impact of higher education on women and family, synthesis of psychological and developmental literature on India, as well as original theoretical analysis


Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Field methods and longitudinal research in Bhubaneswar; 3. The patrifocal family: growing up female in the Old Town; 4. Variations and transpositions: being a wife, mother, and daughter in the New Capital; 5. Caste, class and gender: to be poor and female; 6. Going out to school: women’s changing aspirations; 7. Change and continuity in women’s lives: a three-generational perspective; 8. Systems of family and gender in transition.