Purity and Communal Boundaries explores the rich complexities of a central Bangladeshi village, populated by Muslims, Hindus and Christians. Through a carefully constructed theoretical framework Sand Rozario demonstrates the ways in which class and communal domination reinforce gender inequality. The position of women is analysed in terms of linkages between religious values, sexuality, economics and politics. Rozario also examines the divergence between the demands of the economy and the system of values in Bengali society. The author draws on concepts of sexual purity, shame, honour and parda (seclusion) to make new and stimulating observations about the connections between socioeconomic change, intercommunal tensions and specific aspects of women's contemporary experience such as increased physical mobility, and the shift from dowry to bride price. As a Bangladeshi woman, Santi Rozario is in a unique position to explore this subject. She has overcome the constraints on mobility that would normally bar local women from conducting the kind of extensive anthropological fieldwork represented here. The result is an unusual achievement - the scholarly perspective of a Bangladeshi woman on her own society. Santi Rozario is a Senior Lecturer in sociology and anthropology at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Her teaching and research interests include women's studies, the sociology of religion, and community and development studies.
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