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FORE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT BOOK REVIEW GLOBALIZATION by MALINI BHATTACHARYA

NIMIRA SINGHAL FMG 19 SECTION C Roll No. 191152 Contact No.: +91 9999918695 Email: nimirasinghal@foreian.com Submission Date: 17/02/11 Submitted to: Dr. K.L Chawla

THIS BOOK is based on the proceedings of the seminar, "Globalising Women" organised by the School of Women's Studies, Jadavpur University. It attempts to assess how women are involved in and are affected by the economic, political and cultural changes taking place in India in the name of globalisation, and traverses a wide area in terms of themes, disciplines and orientation of its authors. The foreword attempts to impart a sense of coherence to the volume; this effort however cannot make up for the high degree of unevenness characterising the contributions, the generalisations in some of the pieces. The volume at the end fails to make clear in what way or in which direction our understanding of the phenomenon of "globalisation". Women and media Individually, some of the articles are extremely well researched and thought provoking. Ipshita Chanda's piece on popular print media raises some pertinent questions on the relation between globalisation and the women's movement and the representation of this relation in the popular media. Popular women's magazines, according to Ipshita, have taken up issues that feminist struggles have forced upon the public agenda women's self-consciousness and assertion, right to work, right to education and freedom of career choice, to name a few but presented them as a consequence and/or a characteristic of "modernity". "By providing information and strategies to negotiate changes and changing circumstances, they have propagated what may be called a "lifestyle" feminism, or even a modern "consumerist" feminism. Before we give up the struggle as lost, I would like to think that there are at least two areas we might explore. First, we might rethink our position as feminists on certain issues, in the light of the process of globalisation. Does the feminist agenda for practice require reorientation? What will connote `equality' in the changed circumstances, and what is the nature of `exploitation', given the changed nature of global consumer capital and the structures of patriarchy that support and are supported by this version of capital? Does not this change necessitate the inclusion of larger numbers of men and women within the struggle for equality?" A couple of more articles deal with representation of women particularly in media; more analytical engagement with the interface between "globalisation" and the theme of "modernity", among others, however is warranted. Impact of reforms Utsa Patnaik's brilliant and persuasive piece on the impact of economic reform on employment and food security in India elaborately engages with the argument that, "the reform policies represent the

interests of imperialism in achieving the economic colonisation of India... by re-instituting the most important economic features of a colonised economy." "Looking at the trends in the 1990s, we find that there has been a rapid decline in development expenditures in rural areas, leading to decline in employment and incomes, rapid tertiarisation of the economic structures as income distribution worsens, a severe undermining of food security for the masses as food crops output slows down because exports are privileged and as mass purchasing power declines, raising once more the spectre of famine which stalked colonial India with the difference that now, it is a case of increasing hunger in the midst of plenty." The one jarring note in the piece is the unwarranted and unreferenced aside on those espousing the cause of gender discrimination and women's empowerment. The burden of Nirmala Banerjee's article is that the debates on the issue of the impact of globalisation on women's work in India "has been somewhat misdirected" since it has mainly focussed on the possibilities of women entering export industries under particularly disadvantageous conditions. Banerjee's argument is that the Indian economy is, and continues to be, structurally very different from countries from where the above concern originated. Exports in India account for a relatively minor share of the Gross National Product (GNP) while employment in export industries does not set the pattern for the overall economy. Hence the Indian condition demands a separate analysis and "so far, the process of globalisation has done little to alter those conditions." Food security and health care The articles on food security, women, and agricultural workers, under the overarching theme of globalisation by Madhura Swaminathan and Asish Ghose are extremely useful and informative. The theme of privatisation that Rama Baru's article explores on the conditions of workers in private hospitals is completely silent on two crucial questions: what were the conditions of employment before 1991? And why have public sector health care institutions, by and large, failed to deliver? A more analytical engagement with concepts such as globalisation, modernity and privatisation, their interface and an interrogation of the manner in which these analytical categories have worked themselves out through the different themes covered in the book would have enriched considerably what the volume set out to achieve