//img.uscri.be/pth/0e14a663e10f00d2ff4eb7fe768c7cf3d5fd994b

Gender, religion and development in rural Bangladesh [Elektronische Ressource] / Ainoon Naher

-

Documents
238 pages
Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne
En savoir plus

Description

Gender, Religion and Development in Rural Bangladesh Ph.D. Dissertation Ainoon Naher Department of Ethnology South Asia Institute Heidelberg University December 2005 ABSTRACT This thesis examines the relationships between gender, religion and development in rural Bangladesh in the context of a series of attacks on NGOs by ‘fundamentalist’ forces in the country in the early part of the 1990s. Specifically, the focus is on the emergence of rural women as a center of contention as events unfolded. My examination of the discourses and various political, economic and social factors that surrounded or underlay these events shows that the poor rural women in Bangladesh were being pulled in different directions as a result of multiple forces operating in the context of structures of inequality that existed at global, national, community and domestic levels. Based on fieldwork carried in the village of Jiri in Chittagong, Bangladesh, the thesis argues that while it is possible to see the attacks against NGOs as 'resistance' against 'Western' or 'elite' domination/exploitation, a closer look of events reveals that forms of gender inequality operating at domestic and community levels are largely behind the targeting of women beneficiaries of NGOs by the ‘fundamentalists’.

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Ajouté le 01 janvier 2006
Nombre de lectures 37
Langue English
Signaler un abus
Gender, Religion and Development in Rural Bangladesh Ph.D. Dissertation Ainoon NaherDepartment of Ethnology South Asia Institute Heidelberg University December 2005
ABSTRACTThis thesis examines the relationships between gender, religion and development in rural Bangladesh in the context of a series of attacks on NGOs by ‘fundamentalist’ forces in the country in the early part of the 1990s. Specifically, the focus is on the emergence of rural women as a center of contention as events unfolded. My examination of the discourses and various political, economic and social factors that surrounded or underlay these events shows that the poor rural women in Bangladesh were being pulled in different directions as a result of multiple forces operating in the context of structures of inequality that existed at global, national, community and domestic levels. Based on fieldwork carried in the village of Jiri in Chittagong, Bangladesh, the thesis argues that while it is possible to see the attacks against NGOs as 'resistance' against 'Western' or 'elite' domination/exploitation, a closer look of events reveals that forms of gender inequality operating at domestic and community levels are largely behind the targeting of women beneficiaries of NGOs by the ‘fundamentalists’. The thesis also explores the nature and extent of rural women's resistance to these events and concludes that instead of representing the 'poor rural women' of Bangladesh only as victims, their active and creative roles also must be stressed in our analysis.
DECLARATIONI hereby declare that I have written this PhD thesis myself, and that it has not been submitted to any other university for a degree. Ainoon Naher Heidelberg Signature: ____________________________Date:______________________________
CONTENTSAbstract……………………………………………………………………………….. i Declaration……………………………………………………………………………. ii Acknowledgments…………………………………………………………………….. viGlossary of Acronyms and Non-English Terms……………………………………. viii Chapter 1: Introduction……………………………………………………………… 1 1.1 The Problem and the Context 1.2 Research Questions 1.3 Fieldwork 1.3.1 Selecting the Village 1.3.2 ‘Situating’ Myself as a Researcher 1.3.3 Methods of Observation and Data Collection 1.4 Overview of the Thesis Chapter 2: Gender, Development and Religion: Theoretical and Conceptual Issues…………………………………………………………………………………... 162.1 Key Terms 2.1.1 Gender 2.1.2 Development 2.1.3 Discourse (of Development) 2.1.4 Religious Fundamentalism 2.2 Gender and Development 2.3 Gender and Religion 2.4 Religion and Development 2.5 Religion in the Literature on Women and Development Chapter 3: Women, Islam and Development in Bangladesh: An Overview……… 35 3.1 National Identity and Gender: Emergence of Bangladesh 3.2 Gender and the Revival of Religious Fundamentalism in Bangladesh 3.2.1 Factors behind the Growth of Religious Fundamentalism 3.2.2 The Return to Democracy and Women’s Status 3.3 Gender and Development in Bangladesh 3.3.1 The Rural Women of Bangladesh as Development ‘Target’ 3.3.2 The ‘Poor Rural Women of BD’ in the Discourse of Development Chapter 4: Introducing Jiri: The Social and Economic Background……………....61 4.1 Location and Demography of Jiri 4.2 Bazaar andhatin Jiri 4.3 Social Organization of the Village 4.3.1 Household 4.3.2BariandGushti 4.3.3Samaj
iii
4.4 Education and Literacy 4.5 The Village Economy: Land Ownership and Economic Organization 4.5.1 Non-Agricultural Economic Activities 4.5.2 ‘Dubaiwala’ in the Economy of Jiri Chapter 5: Women and Development in Jiri……………………………………….. 93 5.1 NGO Intervention in Jiri 5.2 Ideology and Approaches of NGOs: Targeting Women 5.3 The Rhetoric of Sustainability, Participation and Empowerment vs. Reality: A Case of BRAC in Jiri 5.4 Micro-Credit, Women and Empowerment in Jiri 5.4.1 Women as Target Group of Micro-Credit Programs 5.4.2 Women as Reliable Borrowers 5.4.3 Accessing Credit: A right realized or a burden to be borne? 5.4.4 ‘We take out the loans, men use them’: Male control over loans meant for women 5.4.5 Repayment of Loans: Whose Responsibility? 5.5 Empowering Women through Credit, or Disciplining Them? 5.5.1 Purdah and Poverty 5.5.2 Social Development and Consciousness Raising Initiatives: Shortcuts? 5.6 Women’s Empowerment vs. Program Expansion 5.7 Conclusion: ‘We are stuck!’ Chapter 6: ‘Fundamentalist’ Attack on NGOs and Women in Jiri………………..140 6.1 The ‘Fundamentalist’ Backlash against NGOs: An Overview 6.2 The Targeting of NGOs and Women by ‘Fundamentalists’: The Context of Jiri 6.3 Allegations against NGO activities 6.4 Mechanisms/Strategies of the Anti-NGO Campaign 6.5 The Types of Attacks on NGOs and Women in Jiri 6.6 Beyond Rhetoric: A Close Look at the ‘Fundamentalists’ and Their Motives 6.6.1 The Rhetoric of Defending Islam against the Agents of the ‘Christians’ 6.6.2 The NGOs and Their Opponents at the National and Local Levels 6.6.2.1 NGOs in National and Local Politics 6.6.2.2 NGOs and the National Elite 6.6.2.3 Resource Competition among National NGOs 6.6.2.4 The Organizers of the Anti-NGO Campaign 6.6.3 Mullahs, Matbors and Moneylenders: The ‘Rural Elite’ and Their New Rivals 6.6.3.1 Economic Insecurity of Madrasa and Maktab Teachers 6.6.3.2 The Reaction of Matbors and Other Rich Peasants 6.6.3.3 Traditional Moneylenders Facing New Competition 6.6.3.4 Sense of Exclusion (among those left out of NGO programs) 6.6.4 Gender Issues 6.6.4.1 Changes in Women’s Mobility in Bangladesh: The Broader Context 6.6.4.2 Men’s Fear of Losing Control Over Women 6.6.4.3 ‘A Thousand Allegations against Women’ 6.6.4.4 The Irony of Male Officials Promoting Rural Women’s Empowerment 6.7 Conclusion
iv
Chapter 7: Resistance and Accommodation of Women in Jiri……………………..182 7.1 The Broader Context: Women in the ‘Political Domain’ 7.2 Forms of Rural Women’s Resistance 7.3 Women’s Responses to ‘Fundamentalist’ Attacks 7.3.1 Redefining Purdah 7.3.2 Using Kinship Morality 7.3.3 Reinterpreting the Dominant Religious Ideology 7.3.4 Gossips, Jokes and Songs 7.4 Conclusion Chapter 8: Summary and Conclusions……………………………………………… 203 8.1 Women and Development in Bangladesh 8.2 The Fundamentalist Backlash against NGOs and Women 8.3 The Poor Rural Women in Resistance and Accommodation 8.4 Postscript: Post-9/11 and the Birth of Suicide Bombers in Bangladesh Endnotes………………………………………………………………………………. 213 Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………... 217
v
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSOver the last several years, many people provided help and support in various ways to me in completing this thesis. First and foremost, I am greatly indebted to my supervisor at the University of Heidelberg, Professor William S. Sax, for his intellectual stimulation, guidance and constant support. Without his careful readings of many drafts and swift and constructive feedback, I would not have been able to finish this thesis. I also owe special gratitude to Professor. Dr. Subrata K. Mitra, my other supervisor at Heidelberg, who has been equally supportive and helpful. Professor Mitra’s expertise on Bangladesh helped me to develop and sharpen my ideas presented here. My enormous debt, of course, is to all my informants, the women of Jiri, for their warmth and hospitality, and for providing me with all required information patiently. The respect and affection that I feel for the women whose help made my time in the village both productive and enjoyable are profound. Though it is impossible to name all of them, I would like to express special thanks to Pakiza, Nargis, Hasina, Khoteza and Fulmoti. I also want to express my gratitude to Sharif and his family for accepting me as a member of their family and giving me the opportunity to share food and home with them.
I started my work on this thesis initially as a doctoral student of Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex, where several friends and professors—particularly Dr. Katy Gardner, who was my supervisor at that time, and Dr. Anne whitehead—encouraged me to embark on my study. Over the years, I have been indebted to many more people, both in Bangladesh and abroad, in pursuing my work. Of them, I must mention the names of Dr. Anna Schmidt, Prof. Peter J Bertocci, Prof. B. K. Jahangir, Prof. S.M. Nurul Alam, Rahnuma Ahmed, Dr. Martin Gaenszle, Stefan M. Eggs, Abantee Harun, Martin Kunz, Karine Polit, Mahiuddin Ahmed, and Malabika Sarker, who have given invaluable comments on all or parts of this thesis at one stage or another. I am further thankful to the PhD students of the Ethnology Department, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, for sharing ideas and critical discussion with me in the Doctoral Colloquium. My heartfelt thanks also go to Anna M. Hanser-Cole for her extreme generosity and
vi
unhesitating administrative and personal assistance, to Shahed and Polin, who helped me by collecting and mailing relevant material from Bangladesh. I would like to acknowledge my debt to those funding agencies that made my research possible. The Overseas Development Agency, UK and the Social Science Research Council, New York sponsored my field research in Bangladesh. And the Center for Development Research (ZEF Bonn) awarded me a fellowship for a portion of the writing-up period at the University of Heidelberg. I am also grateful to Jahangirnagar University, and particularly to my colleagues at the Department of Anthropology there, for allowing me to be on leave for a long time to complete my thesis. Finally, my family members have been loving and supportive through the long years of this project. I am grateful to many members of my family including my father, brothers and sisters, and my in laws and their relatives for their assistance, especially to those who took care of my young son during several long periods of my absence from Bangladesh. My husband Prashanta Tripura, through his moral support, constructive criticism and keen interest in my research, and also through much editorial assistance and other practical help, has sustained me during the last crucial years of what has been a long drawn up process of finishing this work. Last, but not the least, I will never forget the understanding and unceasing encouragement of my young son, Aichuk, who just turned seven this year, and at his young age has endured long periods of separation from me during my write-up phase. He constantly supported and encouraged me during my ups and downs by saying that he wanted me to finish my thesis before I returned home. So I dedicate this thesis to the greatest source of my inspiration, Aichuk. Ainoon Naher Heidelberg
vii
GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS AND NON-ENGLISH TERMS Note: In the literature, spellings of Bengali (or Bengalicized Arabic and Persian) words vary. The entries below are the spellings adopted in this paper. Variant spellings, as may appear in quoted passages, are shown in parentheses. ADABAssociation of Development Agencies in Bangladesh alim/alemIslamic scholar ASAAssociation for Social Advancement, a Bangladeshi NGOapaAlso used as a term of address of female(Term of address for) elder sister. schoolteachers, officials etc.ashrafMuslims of noble origin atrafMuslims of humble originbariLiterally, house/homestead. Also, refers to extended family living on the same compound in a village. bepurdahLiterally, without/out ofpurdah;‘immodest’BNPBangladesh Nationalist Party BRACBangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, the largest NGO of Bangladesh. burkhaVeil (usually back in color, covering one from head to toe) worn by Muslim women in Bangladesh CEDAWCovenant for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women fatwa(fotwa, fotowa)Juridico-religious verdicts, interpretations, or sanctions issued by Islamic scholars/teachers. EPZExport Processing Zone GADGender and Development
viii
GBBank Grameen GDPGross Domestic Product gushtilineage halalProper (food, beverages, income etc.) in accordance to Islamic prescriptions haramAny practice (e.g. taking of bribes) or substance (e.g. alcoholic beverage) that is strictly prohibited in Islam. hartalGeneral strike HYVHigh Yield Variety (of crops) hatRural (weekly) markets kaniUnit of land (equivalent to two-fifths of an acres). imamButprayer-leader. Theoretically, this could be any respectable person.  Muslim each mosque usually has a designated Imam. ijjat(izzat)Values of honor, prestige and status. Jamaat/Jamaat-i-IslamiAnIslamic Political Party of Bangaldesh jihad (jehad)Holy warqaumi madrasaMadrasas in Bangladesh that run independently, without any government control (The government-run madrasas are known as Alia madrasas)madrasa(madrasha, madrasah, madrassah, madrassa)Islamic school. mahajanTraditional moneylendermaktabElementary Islamic school matbor(matabbar, matobbor)A traditional village leader molla (mullah)An Islamic scholar or teacher. The word is often used in a derogatory way to refer to anyone whose status as a religious expert is disputed. moulabadiA modern Bengali coinage meaning 'fundamentalist.'
ix