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Purewal, Navtej (2018) 'Sex Selective Abortion, Neoliberal Patriarchy and Structural Violence in India.' Feminist Review, 119 (1). pp. 20-38.

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This article explores sex selective abortion (SSA) as a form of structural violence within the broader notion of women’s ‘protection’ in contemporary India. While SSA tends to be framed more generally within ethical and choice-based frameworks around abortion access and reproductive ‘rights’, and specifically in India around preference for sons as a discriminatory, cultural, technological misogyny, this article argues that sex selective abortion in India needs to be understood as an outcome of broader systemic economic, political and social processes. The deepening of neoliberal values through state policies has impacted significantly on social relations, shaping SSA as a manifestation of structural violence. State-driven policies in India reflect a neoliberal governmentality through state patriarchy that is implicit within the neoliberal developmental, governmental and capitalist paradigm of contemporary India. This article argues that SSA is structurally produced and therefore cannot be remedied through awareness-raising strategies such as beti bachao or financial inclusion as a means to ‘protect’ or ‘save the girl child’. Indeed, it is neoliberal economic forces that actively, though seemingly inadvertently, promote anti-women, sex selective abortion as a reproductive strategy, which is then disciplined through neoliberal governmentality. This highlights SSA as a form of gendered and structural, rather than discriminatory, violence.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: sex selection, abortion, neoliberal state, structural violence, patriarchy India
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISSN: 01417789
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2017 20:44

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