Identity, empathy and ‘otherness’: Asian women, education and dowries in the uk’

Bhopal, Kalwant (2010) Identity, empathy and ‘otherness’: Asian women, education and dowries in the uk’. In, Mirza, Heidi and Joseph, Cynthia (eds.) Black and Postcolonial Feminisms in New Times: Researching Educational Inequalities. Abingdon, GB, Routledge.


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This chapter examines Asian women’s views on the practice of dowries in the UK. The research is based on 20 in-depth interviews with Asian women studying for a Social Sciences degree in a ‘new’ (post-1992) university in the South East of England, UK. All of the interviews were tape-recorded and the data transcribed. The data was analysed using methods of grounded theory as discussed by Strauss and Corbin (1990) and developed by Charmaz (2006). I sought to develop a Black feminist standpoint from which to conduct research with Asian women. This was based upon a notion of ‘shared identity’ and a ‘shared empathy’ with respondents. Revealing personal details about my own life sought to minimise power differentials in the research process.

The research reveals that Asian women’s entry into higher education has an impact on how they see the practice of dowries in the UK. Many of the women indicated that higher education was used as a source of empowerment for them which gave them greater choice within the family regarding the practice of marriage and dowries. Within this context, the research reveals that Asian women’s identities are shifting and incorporating new modes of being. The research also demonstrates that a Black feminist standpoint is a useful way forward in understanding the lives of women who continue to be silenced and ‘othered’.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBNs: 0415571685 (hardback)
978041571685 (hardback)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Social Justice and Inclusive Education
ePrint ID: 160549
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
24 March 2010Published
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2010 14:57
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:28

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