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Being Less Equal: Narratives of Poor Waste-picking Women in Kerala on Inequality

Author : Ann George | 2016 |
Published By: Indian Journal of Human Development

This paper examines how the poor themselves perceive and react to their situation in an unequal world. It attempts to understand class and caste as lived experiences of the poor through the narratives of poor women in Kerala. Two main findings emerge in the paper. First, the narratives on inequality from the bottom show that the process of adaptation is never complete. Resentment and criticisms against inequality do come up in the minds of the deprived along with feelings of humiliation, helplessness and sadness. However, they are not clearly protesting also. Resentment against inequalities seems to be bounded or contained. Second, the absence of stark forms of ill-treatment or discrimination along with some positive attributes of the rich go a long way towards smoothening the felt aspect of the class divide despite the wide objective segregation of the rich and the poor. Similar to the class experience, some positive interactions and good experiences from the higher castes smoothened the felt experience of caste. The limited nature of the interactions with and help from the higher classes and castes are not questioned.

URL : 20170807035712.pdf

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