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Type: Journal article
Title: 'Fond of cooking, interested in studies, a good daughter': The gendered identities of young Indians, Chinese, Japanese and Australians
Author: Bulbeck, M.
Citation: Contributions to Indian Sociology, 2010; 44(1-2 Sp Iss):129-153
Publisher: Sage Publications Pvt Ltd
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 0069-9667
Statement of
Chilla Bulbeck
Abstract: Between 2000 and 2007, as part of a larger study in ten countries, questionnaires were administered to largely middle-class respondents in seven cities in India, China, Japan and Australia. Although the Indian and Chinese samples are small, particularly in relation to the population of these two most numerous countries in the world, a comparison of the ways in which young people described themselves offers intriguing insights concerning the gendered nature of identity, the extent to which aspects of self-identification are globally borrowed or locally particular and the preoccupations and concerns of young people in these four countries. Some similarities between the samples are born of interconnected colonial histories, for example, the young Indian and Australian males who enjoy or play cricket. Young Indians describe themselves as ‘fans’: fans of cricketers, movie stars, even of Mahatma Gandhi. More female Indian than Australian respondents noted their cooking skills and interests, as well as their enthusiasm for motherhood, some young females borrowing the trope of marriage advertisements, combining their traditional homely accomplishments with studiousness and modernity. I explore three ways in which the respondents identified themselves: in terms of connection to family or others; in terms of ambition, or biographies of the self, expressed largely through their relation to study and its outcomes and in terms of individualism, or claims to a unique selfhood, a characteristic one might expect to be more common among the Australians. While this is indeed the case, especially in relation to sexualised subjectivity, I argue that ambition is an alternative expression of self, but a self embedded within the expectations of those surrounding the respondent. However, other articulations of social embeddedness, such as family affiliation, are not unique to the Asian samples.
Keywords: Gendered identities; youth subjectivities; comparative survey; India; China; Japan; Australia
Rights: Copyright © 2011 by Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi
RMID: 0020100867
DOI: 10.1177/006996671004400207
Appears in Collections:Gender Studies and Social Analysis publications

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