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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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Reproducing Elite Lives

Reproducing Elite Lives

Women in Agarwal Family Businesses

(p.217) 7 Reproducing Elite Lives
Mapping the Elite

Ujithra Ponniah

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the social reproductive roles performed by elite ‘upper’-caste Aggarwal women in family businesses in Delhi. By focusing on women’s associational and familial roles in a South Delhi neighbourhood, three strategies of reproduction are discussed: first, forging inter-strata fictive kinship ties for caste cohesion through women’s ‘social work’; second, forging intra-strata fictive kinship ties for business opportunities through sustained interactions; and third, steering the individuating aspirations of children around marital choices for the unity of the joint family and business. These strategies of elite reproduction highlight the secularizing pulls on gender and caste in urban contexts, despite the dependence of family businesses on caste and family ties. Furthermore, by focusing on women in family businesses, this chapter shows that while they are not passive victims of caste patriarchy neither are they invisible in the male-centric family businesses.

Keywords:   urban upper caste, women, social reproduction, family businesses, aspirations

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