full name / name of organization: 
Ira Raja
contact email: 

Abstracts are invited for a
One-day workshop on the Family in India
On 11 September 2009,
At La Trobe University,
Victoria 3086

Send 200 to 250 word abstract for a 20 min presentation to the
organizers, by 15 April 2009:
Ira Raja
Kay Souter

The paper may focus on the following themes.


Sociological studies on the Indian family have been mainly preoccupied
with quantitative and morphological aspects of household
form/composition, to the neglect of the more 'ineffable' dimensions of
family life and relationships. The present conference hopes to bring
together scholars with an interest in a more broadly-based reconstruction
of the field of Indian family and kinship studies. We invite papers that
look at literary, cinematic and cultural texts for an understanding of
the changing face of the Indian family. In particular, we invite papers
on the following themes related to the family in India:

SOCIAL SECURITY: A major function of the family in India, where welfare
responsibilities carried by the state are minimal, is caring for the
young, the disabled, the sick, the unemployed, and the aged. While the
efficiency of the family as an instrument of care is questionable in the
best of times, this function is seen to be further threatened by an
individualistic ethos promoted by new socioeconomic trends such as
occupational and spatial mobility and increasing participation of women
in the workforce. Sociologists, however, say very little about how
families cope with stress or the ways in which familial care supplements
the care provided by the community and the state; in general, it avoids
dealing with the principles of the Indian moral economy, whether in
normal or abnormal times. We invite papers that address this gap in
sociological research on the family.

SEXUALITY: A field largely ignored by sociologists, sexuality studies in
India have mainly been the domain of anthropologists, psychologists and
psychoanalysts, social historians and social workers dealing with
pathologies such as incest and domestic violence. Latterly, feminist
researchers and queer studies professionals have also addressed male and
female sexuality as a topic of theoretical and practical concerns. We
welcome papers that focus on the articulation of sexuality in cultural
texts. In addition to the sexual dynamics of the conjugal relations and
the oedipal and electra dimensions of parent-child relations, we
encourage papers to examine the unobserved circuits of sexuality in
familial relationships which fall within the homosocial/homoerotic

SOCIALIZATION: The family is widely recognized as the primary agency of
socialization. Andre Beteille has argued that in contemporary India it is
the family rather than the caste group that now ensures the social
placement of the younger generation â€" through arranging school and
college admissions, professional training, and employment opportunities.
We invite papers that offer insights into the cultural practices of the
urban Indian middle classes whose obsessive concern with their children's
education, employment and marriage instances the modern family's critical
role in the reproduction of class structures and values, whose
perpetuation of gender differentiated access to familial resources serves
as an important mechanism of sex role socialization.

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Received on Mon Feb 16 2009 - 00:52:30 EST