This study investigates Indian working women’s sense of the discourses surrounding work and careers. In interviews conducted with seventy-eight women across socioeconomic statuses, castes, classes, and occupational and generational categories in the city of Pune, India, women express how feeling bound by tradition confronts excitement about ongoing changes in the country. The work lives of these women are influenced symbiotically by India’s sociocultural practices and the contemporary phenomenon of globalization. Using feminist standpoint theory as a theoretical lens, Suchitra Shenoy-Packer explores how women deconstruct, coconstruct, and reconstruct systems of knowledge about their worlds of work as embedded within and influenced by the intersections of society, socialization, and individual agency. The meanings that Indian women associate with their work as well as their definition of a career in twenty-first-century India will be of interest to students and scholars of feminist theory, women’s studies, globalization, Asian studies, and labor studies.
Last week, I received a shipment of 10 copies of my first solo-authored book. Needless to say, I am excited at its release and look forward to it being read and used as a text, reference guide, or even leisure reading by others. The project has been a long time in the making. This book is the culmination of three months of data collection in India in 2008 and several years of continued and updated research since then. I absolutely enjoyed the process of meeting with my amazing participants, learning from them, and listening to their experiences. What a delightful way to engage other individuals…by talking about their work!! Because I wanted to understand my participants or my research collaborators beyond their framing of their worlds of work, I asked many a questions related to their lives as well. The answers I got were almost always candid and often inspirational. What other profession or career choice would give one this kind of an opportunity!
Journalism comes close and I am fortunate to have had experience working as a journalist for The Indian Express in Pune, back in the day. Talking to people, getting out of my comfort zone to research topics I didn’t start out knowing much about, engaging interviewees in a conversation about themselves (which is usually not difficult), and just soaking in all that information, is something I really, really love doing. I truly enjoy getting to know people from the perspective of my research questions. Whether it is journalistic investigation (although granted, much of my work as a stringer was interviewing celebrities, writing about food, music, movies, and the teen-college generation, I was very dedicated to my work and took every assignment seriously with the amount of commitment it deserved) or scholarly inquiries, I live for that engagement. I am so thrilled to be working in a profession I love.