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Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism Through Seven Lives in India


Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism Through Seven Lives in India Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Seven voices contribute to this rare glimpse of the work being done on the front lines of the fight for social change in India. Playing with Fire is written in the collective voice of women employed by a large NGO as activists in their communities and is based on diaries, interviews, and conversations among them. Together their personal stories reveal larger themes and questions of sexism, casteism, and communalism, and a startling picture emerges of how NGOs both nourish and stifle local struggles for solidarity. The Hindi edition of the book, Sangtin Yatra, published in 2004, created controversy that resulted in backlash against the authors by their employer. The publication also drew support for the women and instigated a public conversation about the issues exposed in the book. Here, Richa Nagar addresses the dispute in the context of the politics of NGOs and feminist theory, articulating how development ideology employed by aid organizations serves to reinforce the domination of those it claims to help. The Sangtin Writers, Anupamlata, Ramsheela, Reshma Ansari, Richa Singh, Shashibala, Shashi Vaish, Surbala, and Vibha Bajpayee, are grassroots activists and members of a small organization called Sangtin in Uttar Pradesh, India. Richa Nagar teaches womens studies at the University of Minnesota.

Book News Annotation:

Written by seven women, this interdisciplinary text describes their collective journey of the personal and political struggle along with other women toward solidarity, reciprocity and friendship as they sought to reveal what was happening to poor women targeted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). They use descriptions of experience, storytelling and memories to describe their observations and resistance as they describe how their efforts to be sangtin (friends and mutual supporters) contrasted with the actions of the NGO for which they worked; they found the work of the NGO to run directly counter to the effort to develop sangtin across caste and class lines. When this appeared in Hindi in 2004, it sparked public dialog about how development ideologies of aid organizations can reinforce the domination of those they claim to help. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Sangtin Writers
University of Minnesota Press
Foreword by:
Mohanty, Chandra Talpade
Mohanty, Chandra Talpade
Nagar, Richa
Feminism & Feminist Theory
Women's rights
Philanthropy & Charity
Marginality, Social
Women's rights - India - Uttar Pradesh
Marginality, Social - India - Uttar Pradesh
Women's Studies
Feminist Studies-General
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
9 x 5.88 x 0.5 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Asia » General
History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » General
History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » World Feminism
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism Through Seven Lives in India New Trade Paper
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Product details 232 pages University of Minnesota Press - English 9780816647705 Reviews:
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