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Mapping the ElitePower, Privilege, and Inequality$
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Surinder S. Jodhka and Jules Naudet

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199491070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199491070.001.0001

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The Secret Lives of Money

The Secret Lives of Money

Understanding Elite Women of Delhi

(p.274) 9 The Secret Lives of Money
Mapping the Elite

Parul Bhandari

Oxford University Press

This chapter studies the lives of elite women in India, specifically the wives of business elites. Mainly housewives, these women are seen as being unrelated to generation and circulation of money. Their lives are instead often simplistically explained as being more befitting to a discourse of conspicuous consumption and idle leisure. This chapter queries such a popular understanding of elite housewives by revealing certain surreptitious practices of money investment that they indulge in, often without the knowledge of their husband or family members. Treading the lines between familial and non-familial, private and public, secrets and manifest expressions, I argue that elite women create specific and unique relationships with money, which can overcome as well as reiterate their vulnerabilities, anxieties, and desires. This complex circuit of money—generation, savings, investments—in which the elite housewives proactively participate further shapes their networks, friendships, conjugal relations, and self-image.

Keywords:   elite housewives, money, black economy, savings, marriage, secrets, social inequality, privilege, affect, kitty party, trust and mistrust

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