Swarnima Kriti


This paper is based on an ‘action research’ work (in Mardapoti, a largely Gond Adivasi village in Chhattisgarh, India) on the ‘gender-labor continuum in household spaces’, where I, along with a group of young women and men (who are within the age group of sixteen to twenty-two) re-thought research as ‘co-research with community’ (and not on community) and methodology (as actioning research and researching action) in the context of transforming the extant structure of the sexual division of labor in the village and the household. Together, we worked towards a deconstructive relation with the problem of the scarcity of water to arrive, in turn, at the underlying problem of labor sharing among women and men in the household. Through this mixed group of young women and men, we tried to re-orient the young men to participate in household labor (especially that of fetching water from faraway sources). The experience of immersion (not fieldwork) in community contexts and the practice of engendering labor sharing in household spaces brought me to the threshold of questioning the existing set of methodologies; or perhaps questioning of methodologies brought me to the question of ‘praxis’. The overdetermined experience of ‘knowing the researched’ and ‘being of the researcher’ are perhaps not enough for a methodology to be feminist. One perhaps needs to engage in transformative social praxis with women (and men). One needs to engage collaboratively with the community in researching of the problem and actioning based on those research findings for a possible feminist future (in this case the question of labor sharing). The paper argues that this branch of feminist methodology calls for questioning of strict compartmentalization of disciplines, which has made me (re)think binaries like natural science/social science, fact/value, objective/subjective. The paper in the process asks: What is knowledge? What makes knowledge possible? Is ‘attachment’ a hurdle in production of knowledge? Or does it facilitate a different kind of knowledge?

Author Biography

Swarnima Kriti is a Fellow in Action Research at the Centre for Development Practice, Ambedkar University, Delhi. She is working on questions of gender, health and eco-sensitive agriculture in Dhamtari, Chhattisgarh with a group of subaltern women who call themselves "Chinhari: The Young India".