In 2005, after considerable campaigning by women’s groups, the Indian government brought in an important new law, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA). A civil law, the PWDVA was meant to combat violence against women in familial and intimate spaces. In The Violent Domestic, the authors ask: how effective has this law been? Have there been any changes in institutional regimes and their politics as a result of this legislation? They look at seven districts of West Bengal and interrogate, through the testimonies of survivors, whether the law reshapes the domestic, or whether the embeddedness of violence in the domestic is so complete that change through law must necessarily be partial and imperfect.
Importantly, the questions the authors ask go beyond the heteronormative approach that centres only the married woman in the discourse around domestic violence. They include the voices of lesbian and transgender women, as well as women with physical and psycho-social disabilities. Given these unique insights, The Violent Domestic will be a welcome addition to legal and gender studies.
SUPURNA BANERJEE is faculty at the Institute of Development Studies Kolkata. She researches labour, gender, violence, migration, and intersectionality. Her published works include the monograph Activism and Agency in India: Nurturing Resistance in Tea Plantations (2017); Limits of Bargaining: Capital, Labour and the State in India (2019), which she co-authored; and publications in the journals Gender, Work and Organisation, Oral History,and Journal of South Asian Development.
NANDINI GHOSH is faculty at the Institute of Development Studies Kolkata. Her areas of interest are qualitative research methodology, sociology of gender, marginalization, and social exclusion and social movements. Her monograph Impaired Bodies Gendered Lives: Everyday Realities of Disabled Women was published in 2016. She has edited Interrogating Disability in India: Theory and Practice (2016), and co-edited Pratyaha Everyday Lifeworlds: Dilemmas, Contestations and Negotiations (2015) and Caste and Gender in Contemporary India: Power, Privilege and Politics (2018).
MADHURIMA MUKHOPADHYAY is an assistant professor at Amity Institute of English Studies and Research, Amity University Kolkata. She has worked as a post-doctoral research fellow and as a research associate at the Institute of Development Studies Kolkata from 2016 to 2018, and was awarded her PhD from the Faculty of Arts, Jadavpur University. Her publications have variously explored women’s travel writing in colonial Bengal, marriage and intermediation in global India, and include translations of articles, book reviews, reports in various journals, edited volumes, newsletters, and editorials in leading Bengali and English dailies.
RUCHIRA GOSWAMI teaches sociology, human rights, gender and law, child rights, and film and law at the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata (NUJS). She was formerly head of the Centre for Child Rights, NUJS and a British Chevening scholar in Human Rights from the London School of Economics. She has recently worked on two research projects: ‘Implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act in West Bengal’ (2016), UNICEF and ‘Reconceptualizing Domestic Violence: Shifting Discourses Within the Women’s Movement’ (2016-18), ICSSR.